Toyota is getting ready to launch , and while that is meant to ferry people around in silence, comfort, and with no emissions, it's by no means the end of Toyota's ambitions for fuel-cell technology.
By that, I mean that Toyota has been hard at work on adapting its hydrogen fuel-cell technology for use in heavy-duty Class 8 semi-trucks. Now, according to an announcement from Toyota, published Wednesday, that hard work is about to get put to the test thanks to a partnership with the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
Toyota is building 10 new Class 8 trucks based on the Kenworth T680 platform that use a modified (but probably not as modified as you'd think) version of the Mirai's fuel cell. These trucks will be put to use in the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach as part of an extended trial of their efficacy in drayage (aka short-haul trucking).
Toyota Logistics Services and Southern Counties Express are each getting one truck, both of which are entering service in the very near future. Meanwhile, the remaining eight trucks will enter service later in 2021. The USPS is getting three of these trucks, while a company called Total Transportation Services will get two. The remaining three are going to Toyota Logistics Services.
These trucks are built specifically for the Zero and Near-Zero Emissions Freight Forwarding (ZANZEFF) project, which is sponsored through a $41 million grant by CARB and California Climate Investments using money from cap-and-trade credit sales.
"After extensive testing with our proof-of-concept prototypes, we're ready for the next step of putting more trucks into drayage operations," said Andrew Lund, chief engineer for Toyota Research and Development, in a statement. "Moving toward emissions-free trucks is more important than ever, and the ZANZEFF project has been instrumental in getting us closer to that goal."
If this sounds interesting to you, and you'd like to get some fuel-cell action in your life, Toyota's new Mirai is set to enter the market in December.