American big rig truckmaker Kenworth and Toyota are partnering up to co-develop new hydrogen fuel cell trucks in Southern California.
One of the busiest areas for trucking is the Los Angeles basin thanks to the port of Los Angeles. In 2017, $284 billion worth in good entered or exited the United States at the Port of Los Angeles, making it the number one exporter or importer of goods in the country.
But all that stuff can’t go anywhere by boat. Trucks are needed to take goods from the port to various distribution centers all along the California coast. That makes trucking big business in California, and also a big source of pollution.
To tackle California’s growing smog clouds, Toyota and Kenworth are teaming up to create a fleet of 10 hydrogen fuel cell big rig trucks that will operate from the Port of Los Angeles and deliver goods to cities further inland, such as Ontario and San Bernardino. This follows Toyota’s 2017 Project Portal experiment, which saw hydrogen fuel cell trucks take goods up and down the LA corridor.
Kentworth and Toyota will jointly make 10 Kenworth T680s 18-wheelers equipped with Toyota’s latest hydrogen fuel cell powertrains. This means that each truck will be entirely electrified and produce only water vapor as a byproduct of their operation.
Unlike gasoline engines, hydrogen fuel cells don’t actually “burn” their fuel. Instead, hydrogen is combined with oxygen to create H2O--water--as well as energy that can be harnessed by a battery. The battery then stores that energy for use in the truck’s systems, either to operate the radio or make the wheels turn.
The recently announced partnership is part of California’s $41 million Zero and Near-Zero Emissions Freight Facilities (ZANZEFF) grant, which aims to reduce pollution caused by freight haulers at the Port of Los Angeles. Each truck will have a range of 300 miles to travel to and from their destinations.
Additionally, the grant money will be used to create hydrogen fuel infrastructure, including two hydrogen fuel stations in collaboration with Shell Oil.