While the Japanese company is turning an eye on the battery electrics with its latest company establishment, they’re still firmly committed to fuel cells.
With the Mirai now out and about – albeit in low numbers – around the world, Toyota has turned its sight on the next fuel cell project – which has to do with the adaption of this powertrain type for commercial use. And we’re not talking about a pickup truck – no, we’re dealing here with big rigs. If the company is capable of overcoming the engineering issues associated with the adoption of hydrogen fuel cells for heavy duty hauling “the next turning point” on the rigs might be the right call. For now they announced a feasibility study for a hydrogen fuel-cell-powered semi truck in California. Exciting as it sounds, the company has remained mum on details. “Additional details on the study, and the continued evolution of a hydrogen society, will be announced in the coming months,” said the environmentally-friendly automaker.
The new project might be at least connected to the FCEV powertrain that Toyota is cooking in Japan for its hydrogen bus – the commercial applications are after all related. Though 600-liters of hydrogen only come up with 124 miles of range, which is not enough for long-haul duties. The power is not up to snuff as well – 306 horsepower (228 kilowatts) and 494 pound-feet (670 Newton-meters), which is about half the regular semi truck – at least in terms of torque – produce with diesel engines. But we’re dealing here with human wits and the FCEV bus project is certainly a great place to start and come up with smart solutions. And we’re looking forward to Toyota’s reveal of further details about this project.