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Toyota and Kenworth to develop hydrogen-powered trucks

10/01/2019
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With the transportation industry being a major source of pollution, and government agencies such as the EPA looking to target the industry with new emissions regulations, the race is on to develop a low-carbon low-emission form of goods transportation. A new partnership between Toyota and Kenworth may have the solution…
One of the Kenworth T680s which has been fitted with one of Toyota's hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrains
(One of the Kenworth T680s which has been fitted with one of Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrains. Image via Toyota Motor North America).

Announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Toyota and Kenworth Truck Company are teaming up to develop 10 zero-emission Kenworth T680s powered by Toyota hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrains.

The Kenworth T680s will transport cargo across the Los Angeles basin and to inland cities – such as Ontario and San Bernardino – while generating zero emissions, other than water vapour, thanks to their innovative new powertrains.

The project is being funded by a $41 million grant from the California Air Resources Board (CARB), itself part of a larger $82 million funding programme to add more hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and fuelling facilities around the greater Los Angeles area by 2020.

So how does the new system work?

The Kenworth T680s with the Toyota hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrains combine hydrogen gas and air to produce electricity. The electricity powers electric motors to move the trucks, while also charging the lithium-ion batteries to optimise performance as needed. Sophisticated power management systems will apportion the electrical power from the fuel cells to the motors, batteries, and other components, such as electrified power steering and brake air compressors. Under normal drayage conditions the trucks will have a range of over 300 miles.
The hydrogen-powered Kenworth T680s will have a range of over 300 miles.
(The hydrogen-powered Kenworth T680s will have a range of over 300 miles. Image via Toyota Motor North America).

Explaining the rationale behind the collaboration, representatives from both Toyota and Kenworth said:

“This is an excellent opportunity for Kenworth and Toyota to work together to both explore and drive the development of advanced zero emission technologies that will play a critical role in the commercial transportation of the future”.

“This is not just a science experiment; the goal is to make a difference in society. To remove pollution and improve the air quality in and around the Port of Los Angeles”.

Toyota and Kenworth are not the only companies pursuing low-emissions trucking. Manufacturers such as Tesla, Nikola Motors, Volvo and Daimler are all working on battery-powered trucks. Only time will tell whether fuel-cell or battery-powered trucks will prove to be the more commercially successful solution to the trucking industry’s pollution problem…

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Toyota and Kenworth to develop hydrogen-powered trucks - Time to read 3 min
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