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Toyota introduces updated Project Portal hydrogen fuel cell truck with additional range

Media and visitors snap pictures of Toyota’s Project Portal 2.0 Beta hydrogen fuel cell electric truck, introduced yesterday at an event in Michigan.

For the past 9 months or so, Toyota Motor has been testing a hydrogen fuel cell truck in port operations in California. Yesterday, at a media briefing at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) Management Briefing Seminars in Northern Michigan, the company introduced version 2 of that truck.

Project Portal 2.0, known as “Beta,” builds upon the first version, most significantly with an additional 300 miles of range per fill. The new model also added a sleeper cab and a modified “fuel cabinet” that allows for the storage of more hydrogen onboard without expanding the wheelbase or reducing cab space.

“By evaluating the first truck in our test facilities and on the actual roads in the LA area, we made a list of improvements for the Beta truck build process and performance enhancements,” said Andrew Lund, chief engineer for the project. “We needed to move beyond a proof of concept, which the first truck accomplished, to something that is not only better than the original but is also more commercially viable.”

Version 1.0 was dubbed Alpha, and has recorded nearly 10,000 miles of testing in and around the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The new Beta version will begin port work in the fall, Toyota said.

Beta will maintain Alpha’s 80,000-pound gross combined weight capacity and 670-plus horsepower engine producing 1,325 ft.-lbs. of torque using two Mirai fuel cell stacks and a 12kWh battery. The main difference is where Alpha had a 200-mile range on a single fill, Beta will have a 500-mile range.

“Our goal with the first truck was to see if it could be accomplished, and we did that,” said Craig Scott, senior manager for Toyota’s North American Electrified Vehicle & Technologies Office. “This time we’re looking at commercial viability. We want to help make a difference—a significant difference when it comes to the air quality not only in the L.A. area, but across the U.S. and around the globe.”

The Project Portal test truck produces only water vapor as emissions and is a continuation of Toyota’s Environmental Challenge 2050 efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from its Toyota Logistics Facility at the Port of Long Beach. Late last year, Toyota announced it would construct the world’s first megawatt-scale carbonate fuel cell power generation plant. The Tri-Gen plant will use bio-waste sourced from California agricultural waste to generate water, electricity and hydrogen.

The plant will supply the hydrogen to power Toyota’s Project Portal Class 8 trucks as well as Toyota fuel cell autos in the area. It is expected to be operation by 2020.

The Tri-Gen will generate approximately 2.35 megawatts of electricity and 1.2 tons of hydrogen per day, Toyota said, enough to power the equivalent of about 2,350 average-sized homes and meet the daily driving needs of nearly 1,500 vehicles. The power generation facility will be 100% renewable, supplying Toyota Logistics Services’ (TLS) operations at the Port and making them the first Toyota facility in North America to use 100% renewable power, the company added.

“For more than twenty years, Toyota has been leading the development of fuel cell technology because we understand the tremendous potential to reduce emissions and improve society,” said Doug Murtha, group vice president- Strategic Planning. “Tri-Gen is a major step forward for sustainable mobility and a key accomplishment of our 2050 Environmental Challenge to achieve net zero CO2 emissions from our operations.”
The facility will supply all Toyota fuel cell vehicles moving through the Port, including new deliveries of the Mirai sedan and Project Portal.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected].