Back in 2017, which honestly feels like one or two lifetimes ago, Toyota showed off — a fuel cell-powered semi truck it seemed rather serious about. Then, a year later, showed up and further underscored Toyota’s dedication to hydrogen fuel cell technology. Here we are in 2020, and Toyota has officially said it’s going to develop a production semi truck that runs on fuel cells.
The Japanese automaker made the announcement on Monday: After all these years of flirting with the possibility of a Class 8 truck, by golly Toyota’s going to do it. But it won’t do it alone. The automaker said it will work with Hino, a Japanese commercial vehicle manufacturer. Hino will provide the semi chassis, and Toyota will bring its fuel cell powertrain to the party. The final result will be a zero-emissions semi truck with specs to make the vehicle competitive for the North American region. Toyota and Hino already said they’d partner on a truck for Japan, but the two won’t be identical.
What kind of specs the production semi will pack isn’t clear yet, but Project Portal 2.0 likely gave us a preview. The prototype semi made 670-plus horsepower and 1,325 pound-feet of torque and could handle 80,000 pounds. All the while, the two hydrogen fuel stacks and a 12 kilowatt-hour battery helped the truck go 300 miles. The only byproduct from the powertrain? Water.
Toyota and Hino plan to show off a “demonstration vehicle” in the first half of 2021. And Toyota has a pretty long history in fuel cells. At a time whenis under fire for a , it’s probably not a good feeling for competitors to see Toyota officially toss its hat into the ring.