Tesla Grabbed Limelight After Announcing Cell-Powered Semi Truck Future

Toyota has been at the cutting edge of new technology and alternative power sources for some time. They have already done very well with road cars, particularly the Prius and the Mirai.


They have now made some exciting developments in the semi truck sector. They recently launched a massive tractor trailer that is zero emission and powered only by a hydrogen fuel cell system. Like all exclusively fuel cell powered vehicles, the only byproduct is water. They have called it Project Portal for now and it gives us some idea of how they expect to transform the heavy transport industry.

The new release is the result of a joint venture between Toyota and Port of Los Angeles. The area is a heavy trucking area. This venture forms part of the Clean Air Action Plan implemented by the Port. This plan has effectively reduced harmful emissions from Los Angeles and the Ports of Long Beach over the past 12 years. Two Toyota Mirai fuel cell stacks provide power to the 80,000-pound semi truck and provide 1,325 pound-feet of torque and 670 horsepower.

They have also included a 12-kilowatt-hour battery, which, by their own admission, is “relatively small” for such a large truck. The range of the truck, under normal conditions, is around 200 miles before more hydrogen is needed. So for now, it will only be suitable for local deliveries. It is still a huge development and sure to progress and improve over time.


Toyota ‘Project Portal’ proof-of-concept hydrogen fuel-cell powered semi tractor was launched at a press conference held together with the California Air Resources Board, who determine state emission standards, and the Port. They advised that the new vehicle will go through a feasibility study in order to determine the potential for this technology in the heavy transport industry.

At present, the availability of hydrogen fueling stations is far from adequate but then this is still an emerging technology. The trucking industry will be easier to service in this regard as they tend to stick to specific, predetermined routes. Various plans are underway including a venture with Shell that will see an increase in hydrogen filling stations at strategic parts of California.

Other companies, including Telsa, have also announced developments in the alternative powered truck market so the race is well and truly on.