Toyota revealed a new prototype in the manufacturer’s “Project Portal” fuel cell electric truck along with a nod towards the prospect of mass-production.
The automotive giant already produces an electric car, the Mirai, components of which are present in its fuel cell truck.
The new model, called the Beta truck is built on a variation of the Kenworth T680 tractor. It is a ton lighter and has a range of approximately 480km.
Toyota wanted to develop a more commercially viable model says Andrew Lund, Toyota’s chief engineer.
The truck was unveiled Monday in the U.S. during the Centre for Automotive Research’s annual Management Briefing Seminars outside Traverse City, Michigan.
The project began in 2015 with the first model, the Alpha truck, being shown to the public in April 2017.
The Alpha truck uses the fuel cell systems from two of Toyota’s Mirai sedans to drive a 670 -horsepower electric motor, giving it the same hauling power as its Kenworth diesel counterpart. A similar system is also used in the Beta truck.
Because of the electric motor’s instant power, the Toyota fuel cell truck sees quick acceleration compared to diesel counterparts.
The second-generation truck houses a 12-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and six carbon-fibre wrapped tanks that hold 60 kilograms of compressed hydrogen gas. That’s enough for 480km of range, 50 percent more than the Alpha truck’s 320km range.
The Alpha truck has been put to work in the last year, racking up 13,500km carrying imported Toyota parts from ships to storage and vehicle preparation sites around the ports and into various warehousing units in California.
The Beta truck will be doing the same job, says Lund.