• Toyota Project Portal is a Fuel-Cell Electric Semi Truck with 1,325 Lb-Ft of Torque and Full 80,000 Lbs Capability

    Toyota “Project Portal” fuel-cell electric semi truck

    This may look like an ordinary Kenworth semi truck, but it is actually a Toyota “Project Portal” concept. It is a hydrogen fuel-cell electric semi truck that Toyota built as a proof of concept for zero emissions freight transportation. This concept truck will undergo testing at the shipping ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles this summer.

    Toyota will not be outdone by recent electrified semi-truck announcements from Nikola and Tesla.

    Toyota is already selling a Mirai fuel-cell sedan in California. Under the skin, Toyota added two Mirai fuel cells stacks and a 12 kWh battery. Total output is 670 horsepower and 1,325 lb-ft of torque. The truck is rated at a gross combined weight of 80,000 lbs, which is the same a standard long-haul truck. However, this concept semi truck can go about 200 miles on a single fill-up of hydrogen. This range makes sense for port operations. Clearly, the concept is not meant for long-haul trucking.

    Electrification of semi-trucks is a natural progression, and the hydrogen fuel-cell technology could be one of the practical and sustainable solutions.

    Here is a good-old turbo-diesel racing semi truck for a bit of nostalgia.

    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.

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    24 thoughts on “Toyota Project Portal is a Fuel-Cell Electric Semi Truck with 1,325 Lb-Ft of Torque and Full 80,000 Lbs Capability

        1. Jay B – – –

          Yeah. This thing not intended for “prime time” yet (per the article), — with sleeper and 1000-mile range. It’s essentially a “day cab”.


      1. There’s nothing wrong with advancing technology. Cars used to suck compared to horse and buggy. Diesel cars and pickups used to suck compared to the new diesels. No sense in becoming stagnant.

        1. Part of advancing technology is also seeing the productions consumption of the same fuels and measuring the benefit for sustainability in the latter. So far they are VERY expensive to produce, and provide short distance for their size. Distance is very dependable on external temperatures and other environmental factors. Props to the ones that eventually make it affordable and more durable.

      2. Troverman, the biggest issue I personally have seen is reliability. The dealers I use have an onslaught of trucks getting worked on or waiting to get repaired due to emissions failures. Every time I go there, they have no less than 4 engines torn down. They have 2 or more technicians just for emission drivability issues. The diesels are much cleaner but reliability has gone down the toilet.

    1. It’s 80,000 only because of the mandated axle loads. What it can carry for freight will be the bigger story. If you can haul more weight than it will be a double upper cut flurry to the diesel motor.

    2. 200 mile range seems low to me for a truck but it is still a step in the right direction. I love seeing advancement in everything automotive. UPS and some other companies have been using the LNG powered trucks and from what i hear it has been going pretty good. Other than when they run out of fuel.

    3. if you want to reduce emissions you’re going to create hydrogen for free, and that means getting electricity from solar and not coal for electrolysis. but the gains for port usage could be huge.

    4. Making hydrogen comes with it own issues and is fairly expensive what we need is new technologies like a Mr Fusion. In the mean time we just have to get more efficient at burning hydrocarbons and capturing the energy we put in getting up to speed when we slow down is a good start.
      Fuel cells are not the answer.

    5. Several general thoughts:

      1) H2 is currently, as in RIGHT NOW, expensive to produce, difficult to store*, awkward to distribute, — and it has fossil fuels as a primary source, — none of which makes it really great.

      2) However the Audi “E-gas” project* has a plant on line. This method uses wind-powered electrolysis of sea water to get H2; and a further step is to combine the H2 with CO2 removed from the atmosphere, to generate CH4. CH4 can also be used (inefficiently) in fuel cells; or burned directly as CNG; or liquified and burned as LNG. This complete process, while not “zero-emissions”, is nonetheless carbon-neutral.
      However, stopping the process with ONLY H2 (and O2 for hospitals), — to use it in fuel cells — is zero-emissions.

      3) H2 is a good, clean energy carrier, but the methane (CH4) thinking went like this:
      …a) “How can we crowd H2 molecules together for more efficient storage and delivery?”
      …b) “Well, we can liquify it (as for the BMW ‘Hydrogen 7’ cars)”, and make LH2.
      …c) “Really? It boils at -423 deg F, so how do we keep it ‘liquid’ without massive refrigeration or pressurization equipment? Wouldn’t the energy to keep it as a cold liquid for 500 miles eat away at an energy/mileage benefit? (ANS: yes)”
      …d) What we need is a way to “nestle” hydrogen atoms next to each other around a “getter atom” or chemical bond. And wouldn’t it be nice if that collecting atom ALSO got consumed and went away in the process, but ALSO contributed energy when it did so?”

      4) Some Inorganic salts can hold H2 temporarily, but not release easily, not get consumed, and not contribute energy. Ergo: METHANE (CH4), the perfect solution. Methane is 80% Hydrogen (by atom count), so think of CH4 as a chemical way to store hydrogen with 80% atom-efficiency. Pretty close to the 100% efficiency of LH2.

      So, I see the real future of over-road truck propulsion to be, yes, initially H2-based; but practically, CH4-enacted. And we already have the technology to run CNG engines if we want to burn it directly with minimal emissions, and with a carbon-neutral foot-print, IF we use the Audi e-gas Process. (Of course, we already have so much natural CH4 from the refinery process that just using it up may be a good intermediate step.)

      * ref: http://blog.caranddriver.com/audi-opens-first-e-gas-synthetic-fuel-production-facility/


    6. More thoughts – – –

      I should also note that Toyota’s somewhat triumphalist sign on the side of the truck (“Creating a Zero-Emissions World”) is a bit misleading, for several reasons:

      1) No fuel cell is “zero-emissions”. The emission just happens to be H2O instead of CO2. Dirty Secret, — better known as the Elephant-in-the-Room: water vapor is a more potent green-house gas per molecule than CO2 (by a factor of ~10)!

      2) The other emission from fuel cells is thermal pollution: the emission is heat. No exothermic process can be without it, and it contributes to (so-called) “Global Warming” directly.

      3) The construction and manufacturing of the semi-tractor is not a zero-emissions process. Thermal and CO2 pollution is generated from coal or CNG to melt steel; heat factories; provide supplier-parts transportation; generate electricity; and so on.

      So, looking at the WHOLE picture, H2 Fuel cells may solve a 10% issue, but ignore the 90% part of of the problem.


      1. I’m a chemical engineer so take the advice if you like.
        H20 is a green house gas. It is potent. However, there is a method for removing excess H20 from the atmosphere called rain. Also, burning gasoline releases just as much if not more H20 as things stand now. Most hydrogen fuel cells capture the exhaust vapor to keep the cell hydrated.

    7. Mercy Bernie kressner you really got into the weeds.

      Sure the DSL has its​ problems with the emissions because of government, but it is still lot more cheaper to build and maintain and DSL fuel is still the cheapest form of energy that is practically available everywhere. All these technologies all great and wonderful but it is still long way to go to before replacing the DSL engine.

      1. Marc – – –

        Yeah, you’re right. Got carried away. Sorry.
        But diesel (DSL) is certainly the most practical for over-road “Big Rigs” right now, — and for quite a while into the future.

        All of this discussion really depends on timeframes. Here are (questionable) estimates for Big Rig over-road preferred propulsion methods:
        1) 10-20 years out: Diesel
        2) 20-40 years out: CNG (from the ground)
        3) 40-80 years out: CNG (Audi E-gas Process)
        4) 80-120 years out: H2 Fuel Cell
        5) 120 – ? years out: HyperLoop Freight Delivery


    8. The problem with this and all so called new technologies is that there are much better inventions that make this so obsolete, unfortunately they would also not make much money so they get shelved or forcefully seized, or the person or persons behind it get assassinated. Just goes to show that the LOVE of money really is the root of all evil.

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