Kenworth to build semi trucks powered by Toyota fuel cells

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American truck manufacturer Kenworth will build a fleet of 10 semi-trailer trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cell-electric powertrains sourced from Toyota. The two firms made the announcement on Tuesday in Las Vegas at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show.

The collaboration is part of the $41 million Zero and Near-Zero Emissions Freight Facilities grant awarded by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), with the Port of Los Angeles as the main recipient. The collaboration will also see the installation of two new hydrogen fueling stations to service the Southern California region.

The CARB grant is part of a larger $82 million program that aims to put not only fuel cell trucks but also hydrogen fueling infrastructure and zero-emission cargo handling equipment into operation in the port and L.A. basin by around 2020. Progress has already been made with Toyota testing prototype fuel cell trucks at the site since 2017. The trucks haul goods from the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach Port terminals to surrounding rail yards and warehouses for distribution.

The Kenworth fuel cell trucks will go a step further, by transporting cargo across the L.A. basin and to various inland cities. Ontario and San Bernardino were mentioned in a statement.

Toyota Project Portal 2.0 fuel cell-powered semi-trailer truck

Toyota Project Portal 2.0 fuel cell-powered semi-trailer truck

Kenworth will use its T680 as the basis for the project, replacing the class 8 truck's inline-6 diesel engine with the zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell-electric powertrain. The range is expected to be 300 miles under normal usage conditions.

Specific details on the powertrain haven't been announced but Toyota's own prototype fuel cell trucks, which each weigh 80,000 pounds and are based on a Kenworth design, feature two Toyota Mirai fuel cell stacks and a battery generating enough energy for the truck’s electric drive system to deliver 670 horsepower and 1,325 pound-feet of torque.

In fuel cell-electric powertrains, a fuel cell stack combines hydrogen with oxygen from the air to form electricity which can power an electric motor and charge a battery. In Kenworth's fuel cell truck, power management systems can apportion the electricity from the fuel cells to the motors, batteries, and other components, such as electrified power steering and brake air compressors, in order to maximize efficiency.

For more on the fuel cell trucks, read the in-depth report at Green Car Reports. And for more CES coverage, head to our dedicated hub.

 
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