There is still no real long-term solution to the replacement of diesel as the main fuel for long distance truck operation.  Battery trucks are not yet practical in terms of range and payload allowance, (although this is improving).  Costs for these BEV trucks are also prohibitive at this stage.  Gas (CNG And LNG) is becoming more popular, and is being promoted heavily by Iveco as the medium-term solution until a fuel cell alternative can be found.

Hino - Fuel Cell Truck
Hino’s Fuel Cell Truck with fuel cell technology based on Toyota Mirai Car

This is where Toyota and its subsidiary, Hino Motors come in.  The two businesses have agreed to jointly develop a heavy-duty fuel cell truck.

The companies recognise that simply using BEV trucks for local urban duty cycles will not be enough.  There needs to be an answer to long haul – including fast refuelling and acceptable payloads.  This heavy duty truck segment accounts for about 60 percent of the total CO2 emissions from commercial vehicles in Japan.

The Truck

The heavy-duty fuel cell truck in this joint development project is based on Hino Profia. The chassis is specially designed with the optimum packaging for a fuel cell vehicle, and steps are being taken through comprehensive weight reduction to ensure a sufficient load capacity. The powertrain is equipped with two Toyota fuel cell stacks that have been newly developed for Toyota’s next Mirai fuel cell. The truck’s range is thought to be about 600 km.

Toyota and Hino have positioned hydrogen as an important energy source for the future and have worked together on developing technologies and spreading and innovating fuel cell vehicles for over fifteen years since their joint demonstration trials of the fuel cell bus in 2003.