Toyota to move commercial vehicle fuel cells from testing to production

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After completing thousands of miles of real-world testing in the harsh environment of commercial trucking, Toyota says it is preparing to take its hydrogen-powered fuel cell (FC) electric technology from prototypes to production.

Starting in 2023, a dedicated line at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) plant will begin assembling integrated dual FC modules destined for use in hydrogen-powered, heavy-duty commercial trucks. Toyota says the move will allow manufacturers to integrate fuel cell electric technology into existing platforms.

“We’re bringing our proven electric technology to a whole new class of production vehicles,” said Tetsuo Ogawa, president and chief executive officer at Toyota Motor North America. “Heavy-duty truck manufacturers will be able to buy a fully integrated and validated fuel cell electric drive system, allowing them to offer their customers an emission-free option in the Class 8 heavy-duty segment.”

The dual fuel cell modules, which are a key component of Toyota’s overall FC kit, weigh approximately 635kg and can deliver up to 160kW of continuous power. The FC kit also includes a high-voltage battery, electric motors, transmission and hydrogen storage assembly from top-tier suppliers. Toyota will also offer its powertrain integration expertise to help truck manufacturers adapt these emission-free drivetrain systems to a wide variety of applications in the heavy-duty trucking sector.

“This second-generation fuel cell system is necessary for a carbon-neutral future,” added David Rosier, the head of Toyota Kentucky Powertrain. “It delivers over 300 miles [483km] of range at a full load weight of 80,000 lb [36,287kg], all while demonstrating exceptional driveability, quiet operation and zero harmful emissions.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology International and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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