Toyota Is Building a Semi Like No Other

Posted Monday, May 08, 2017 by North Hollywood Toyota

Anyone who’s paid attention to the development of hybrid and electric cars knows that Toyota is ahead of the pack when it comes to replacing fossil fuels. The Prius was one of the first hybrid cars ever to hit the market, and it quickly became the iconic hybrid vehicle.

Toyota’s innovations in alternative fuel sources haven’t slowed down since then, and the company just announced what may be its most impressive achievement in that field yet: a plan to build a fleet of hydrogen cell-powered big rig trucks that are not only incredibly fuel efficient and eco-friendly but, also, surprisingly powerful and durable.

Let’s take a closer look at this amazing announcement, and what it means for Toyota and semi-trucks in general.


Power and Fuel Efficiency Combined

Let’s start with the most obvious part of the story: Toyota has just changed the game when it comes to the shipping industry.

While non-gasoline engines strong enough to power consumer-grade vehicles is hardly a revolutionary concept in this decade, the idea that a hydrogen-fuel-based engine could power something as large and heavy-duty as a semi-truck seemed, to most people, to be an idea years or decades away from becoming reality—until Toyota made their latest announcement, anyway.

Presented as part of a feasibility study by the Port of Los Angeles as part of the port’s plans to reduce emissions, Toyota’s plans for a fleet of hydrogen shipping trucks would require what is unquestionably the most powerful hydrogen fuel cell engine on the market.

Obviously, a vehicle as big as a semi-truck—especially one loaded with cargo—requires a lot of power to move at the regular traffic speeds, let alone the high velocities of freeways. So, it’s a good thing that Toyota’s concept truck for the project has an engine that’s capable of producing a lot of power.

How much power? According to Toyota, their hydrogen fuel cell semis would generate more than 670 horsepower and 1,325 pound-feet of torque. All of this would be generated by two Mirai fuel cell stacks and a 12kWh battery—a surprisingly small battery size for such a big operation. The truck itself would have a gross combined weight capacity of 80,000 pounds and have an estimated driving range of more than 200 miles before needing to be refilled.


A Hydrogen-Powered Future

The idea of hydrogen fuel cells as a power source for cars has long excited futurists and environmental advocates. These engines use compressed hydrogen for fuel, and the only waste product or emission they produce is water, making them much cleaner and eco-friendly than gasoline engines.

Until now, however, automakers hadn’t invested much in the technology because of a nearly complete absence of fueling infrastructure—very few hydrogen fuel stations exist in the world. Obviously, Toyota’s plan to launch a fleet of hydrogen powered trucks signals that things are about to change in a big way. With one of the world’s major auto companies putting its weight behind hydrogen power, a hydrogen-powered future may be closer than many people believe.

Want to learn more about Toyota’s exciting new vehicles? Contact our Los Angeles Toyota dealership today at 800-800-6730.