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After an announcement in early 2017, Toyota's work on a hydrogen-based fuel cell semi-truck has been somewhat under wraps. Now, however, the company may be on the verge of a breakthrough, with the first prototype trucks ready for testing.
Truck Trend Network reports on developments in Toyota's Project Portal, having recently ridden along on a test drive for one of their new trucks. Aiming to expand the use for the hydrogen fuel cell power source the company developed for its Mirai car, the end goal of the project is to help reduce pollution caused by semis in Los Angeles.
This truck's power is drawn from two fuel cells and an electric engine. Causing zero emissions and generating enough torque and horsepower to transport up to 10 tons of cargo, it's no slouch in either eco-friendliness or power. Since October, it has been making transporting goods between the LA docks and distribution centers around the city, driven by veteran trucker Danny Gamboa.
One aspect of note about the new truck, according to Gamboa who drove the prototype for TTN's test drive, is just how quiet it is compared to the standard diesel engine. He commented that the vehicle ran so quietly it was possible to hear the suspension system, as the roaring engines of old were replaced with near-silence.
A potential complication to a larger roll out of vehicles is the question of refueling. While electricity is in no shortage, truckers do not currently have a plethora of options for recharging while on the road. Without specific refueling stations (themselves with limited resources and long charge times), any wide-scale semis of this breed would be impractical to use for longer rides.
While the final version of these trucks might still be a ways off, these tests prove promising. Given Los Angeles' approved proposal to phase out diesel vehicles for lower emission models, Toyota may be on the cutting edge yet again with this new fuel source.
To stay up to date and this and more cutting edge technology affecting the semi-truck industry, stay in touch with JRuble & Sons Truck Sales.
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