Photo: Neil Abt/Fleet Owner

Kenworth, Toyota team on hydrogen fuel cell project

Jan. 10, 2019
Kenworth Truck Co. has joined with Toyota Motor North America to develop 10 electric hydrogen fuel cell heavy-duty trucks.

LAS VEGAS. Kenworth Truck Co. has joined with Toyota Motor North America to develop 10 electric hydrogen fuel cell heavy-duty trucks.

The first of these zero-emission vehicles, a Kenworth T680, was displayed at the 2019 CES show. Officials with both companies were on-hand at the show to discuss the details of the truck, which was built with the help of a grant awarded by the California Air Resources Board.

“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,” Mike Dozier, Kenworth's general manager, said in a statement.

The T680s will move freight from the Port of Los Angeles to nearby cities, helping to chip away at the long-standing air pollution problem in the region. All 10 are expected to be in operation before the end of next year.

The trucks 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 optimize performance as needed.

Andrew Lund, Toyota's chief engineer for product development, and Brian Lindgren, Kenworth’s director of research development, said these trucks should have a range of about 300 miles under normal drayage operating conditions.

“This is not just a science experiment, the goal is to make a difference in society, Bob Carter, executive vice president of Toyota Motor North America, said in a statement. That message was underscored at CES by Toyota's Lund.

“Imagine what we can do for that community,” with fewer diesel-powered trucks and more zero-emission vehicles on the road,” he said.

With drayage trucks frequently idling, hydrogen fuel cell trucks were an ideal option for the sector, compared with diesel.

As part of this project, Shell Oil Products is helping to build several new hydrogen fueling stations in the area. 

At last year's CES show, Kenworth showed a T680 day cab equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell. 

About the Author

Neil Abt

Neil Abt, editorial director at Fleet Owner, is a veteran journalist with over 20 years of reporting experience, including 15 years spent covering the trucking industry. A graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., he began his career covering sports for The Washington Post newspaper, followed by a position in the newsroom of America Online (AOL) and then both reporting and leadership roles at Transport Topics. Abt is based out of Portland, Oregon.

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