13 October 2017

Fuel Cell Heavy Freight Truck Starts Operations Soon  

Battle for Next Gen Fuel Drive Heating Up

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Shipping News Feature US – The Handy Shipping Guide has been tracking the battle between various truck manufacturers and technology developers to create the next generation of drive train and, more especially, what fuel source will be used by the road freight industry in the future. Everything from electric to biofuels and hybrid systems are being developed at break neck speed to try and corner a market that, as concerns on emissions and their effect on the global climate grow, will amount to trillions of dollars. Now one of the competitors is upping the ante by fielding their entry in actual freight haulage work.

Toyota Motor North America’s (TMNA) ‘Project Portal’, a hydrogen fuel cell system designed for heavy-duty truck use, is hitting the streets around the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach from the October 23. The zero-emission class 8 truck has completed more than 4,000 development miles, while progressively pulling drayage rated cargo weight, and emitting nothing but water vapour. Now it is going to be working moving goods from select Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach terminals to surrounding rail yards and warehouses for distribution.

The truck’s daily trips will total around 200 miles, with these localised, frequent route patterns are designed to test the demanding drayage duty-cycle capabilities of the fuel cell system while capturing real world performance data. As the study progresses, longer haul routes will be introduced. TMNA Executive Vice President, Bob Carter, said:

“Toyota has led the way in expanding the understanding and adoption of fuel cell technology. From the introduction of the Mirai passenger vehicle to the creation of the heavy-duty fuel cell system in Project Portal, Toyota continues to demonstrate the versatility and scalability of the zero-emission fuel cell powertrain.”

Revealed in April 2017, Project Portal is a fully functioning heavy duty truck with the power and torque capacity to conduct port drayage operations while producing zero emissions. The vehicle generates more than 670 horsepower and 1,325 pound feet of torque from two Mirai fuel cell stacks and a 12kWh battery, a relatively small battery to support class 8 load operations. The concept’s gross combined weight capacity is 36 tonnes and its estimated driving range is more than 200 miles per fill, under normal operation.

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