Hydrogen fuel cell technology is rapidly emerging as a big business opportunity for many manufacturers. But with Nikola (one of the first players in the developing hydrogen big rig segment) currently stumbling due to recent upheaval, the door is wide open for other automakers to fill; the gap. Toyota is one of these firms, and the company revealed that it has created a hydrogen fuel cell powered big rig with help from semi truck maker Hino.
The new rig is based on Hino’s XL Series chassis, but it has been infused with the latest iteration of Toyota’s fuel cell technology in an attempt to deliver maximum capability without the harmful emissions that often come with a traditional diesel or gasoline fueled engine. The rig itself doesn’t go too far with the sci-fi theme, and from a glance, it still resembles a conventionally styled truck, with the front grille, rim edges, and side skirts featuring blue accents. The trailer is perhaps the boldest sign of its fuel saving intent, with the whole container having FCV and Zero Emissions painted onto it. This traditional design should please fleet buyers that might be scared off by some of the extreme styling elements presented by the Tesla Semi.
“A fuel cell powered version of the Hino XL Series is a win-win for both customers and the community. It will be quiet, smooth and powerful while emitting nothing but water,” said Tak Yokoo, Senior Executive Engineer, Toyota Research and Development. “Toyota’s twenty plus years of fuel cell technology combined with Hino’s heavy-duty truck experience will create an innovative and capable product.”
“Expanding upon our proud heritage of the Hino powertrain, Toyota Fuel Cell Technology offers our customers a commercially viable, extended range, zero emissions vehicle in the near term,” said Glenn Ellis, Hino’s Senior Vice President Customer Experience. “Hino shares a common focus with Toyota when it comes to durability, reliability, and innovation with the customer at the center of design which makes this collaboration a game changer.”
Both companies did not release any further information in regards to what we can expect from the rig pictured, including when we can see it make its way to the U.S. market. But we will admit that this truck certainly does a good job of catching our attention as it stands now. The truck will face a number of rivals when it makes its way into the marketplace. This includes the all electric Tesla Semi, as well as whatever emerges from Hyundai’s own attempt a creating a hydrogen powered big rig.
Look for more information to perhaps be revealed towards the end of the year.