Toyota Picks Hino For North American Fuel Cell Truck Partner

October 05, 2020 by Jerry Hirsch, @Jerryhirsch

Toyota Motor Corp. picked its Hino Trucks subsidiary to develop a Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell truck for the North American market.

Toyota has spent several years designing a fuel cell heavy-duty truck but previously has relied on Paccar’s Kenworth brand as a vehicle partner. The companies are in the process of building about a dozen trucks for testing in Southern California.

Now Toyota plans to use Hino’s newly developed XL Series chassis with the fuel cell technology Toyota has developed for both commercial use and passenger cars.

Already, Hino and Toyota are developing a heavy-duty fuel cell truck for the Japanese market.

“A fuel cell-powered version of the Hino XL Series is a win-win for both customers and the community. It will be quiet, smooth and powerful while emitting nothing but water,” said Tak Yokoo, Senior Executive Engineer, Toyota Research and Development. “Toyota’s twenty-plus years of fuel cell technology combined with Hino’s heavy-duty truck experience will create an innovative and capable product.”

Multiple truck manufacturers are developing zero-emission big rigs for the U.S. market. Daimler Trucks’ Freightliner division and Volvo both have battery-electric Class 8 trucks working in pilot programs in Southern California.

The companies are designing cargo haulers that can replace diesel big rigs and reduce pollution, starting at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., complex, the nation’s largest.

The Los Angeles and Long Beach port complex is the largest trade gateway for containerized cargo in North America. The ports handle 20 percent of all U.S.-bound cargo. Particulate and Co2 emissions from the 16,000 trucks entering and leaving the ports daily worsen air quality in communities through which they travel.

Nikola Inc., a Phoenix startup, also is working on a hydrogen fuel cell truck, but recently became a target of a Securities and Exchange Commission probe into alleged fraud. The company’s founder Trevor Milton resigned from the board of directors. Both Milton and Nikola have denied any wrongdoing and say they welcome the investigation.

Hyundai has just started a program to use fuel cell trucks in Switzerland. It said last year it was considering developing a truck for the U.S. market.

Jerry Hirsch October 5, 2020
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