Toyota Receives Zero-Emissions CARB Executive Order For HD Fuel Cell Electric Powertrain Kit

The Newest Generation Of Powertrain Reflects Key Learnings And Improvements In Things Like Energy Efficiency, Package Size, And More From Extensive Real-World Testing And Development From The Company’s Fuel Cell Development Engineering Team

Toyota’s Heavy-Duty Fuel Cell Electric Powertrain Kit (Image Courtesy Of Toyota)

Toyota announced that it was recently granted a Zero-Emissions Powertrain (ZEP) executive order from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for its new heavy-duty fuel cell electric powertrain. The hydrogen-fueled powertrain kit includes hydrogen fuel storage tanks, fuel cell stacks, batteries, electric motors, and transmission, and offers a viable alternative to traditional diesel powertrains used in commercial goods transportation as companies look to transition their fleets to zero-emissions vehicles.

CARB’s ZEP executive order certifies that a powertrain complies with CARB regulations for ZEPs determined to meet specific emissions standards required for sale in California. Original equipment manufacturers using Toyota’s certified powertrain may also be eligible for other available incentives, such as CARB’s Hybrid and Zero-Emissions Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP), the Clean Truck Fund (CTF) introduced last year by the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and certain federal incentives. “Toyota aims to reduce or eliminate emissions for all mobility solutions, and our fuel cell electric powertrains have proven that hydrogen can play a significant role in the reduction of emissions from heavy-duty transportation,” said Scott Friedman, senior program manager of advanced mobility for Toyota Motor North America. “Receiving the ZEP executive order from CARB is a key achievement for our teams who have dedicated an incredible amount of time and effort, and we are excited to offer this powertrain commercially in the near future.”

Toyota’s efforts with hydrogen-powered heavy-duty truck powertrains started with Project Portal back in 2017. Toyota has developed multiple generations of powertrain prototypes during development, such as those found the Alpha and Beta trucks that logged nearly 14,000 miles (22,531 km) of testing and real-world drayage operations in and around the Port of Los Angeles.

The truck generation named “Ocean” showed an example of how hydrogen-based powertrains with fuel cell stacks could be used in real-world applications such as drayage, through a proof-of-concept demonstration at the Port of Los Angeles as part of the Zero- and-Near-Zero Emissions Freight Facilities’ “Shore to Store” project. For the project, Toyota worked with Kenworth to develop trucks using an updated prototype fuel cell electric powertrain and deployed 10 Kenworth T680 Class 8 trucks. The 10 trucks served real-world customers via drayage routes, with infrastructure support from Shell, hauling cargo between the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the LA Basin.

Toyota’s CARB ZEP-certified powertrain kit is now ready for commercialization, with production slated to start for customers later this year at the company’s Kentucky manufacturing plant. This newest generation of powertrain reflects key learnings and improvements in things like energy efficiency, package size, and more from extensive real-world testing and development from the company’s fuel cell development engineering team. Toyota said that fuel cell electric powertrains are advantageous for heavy- and medium-duty transport when compared to other all-electric options, such as battery electric, as they are often lighter to allow for more payload, and they offer more uptime thanks to fueling times that are much closer to conventional diesel powertrains. “We believe hydrogen will play a significant role in the emissions reductions of heavy-duty transport while not sacrificing the distance, power, or fueling times needed to keep these fleet and individual operators running,” said Chris Rovik, executive program manager of advanced mobility for Toyota Motor North America. “Fuel cell technology is scalable, and we believe it will take an increasingly visible and important role in our collective fight to reduce and eliminate carbon as we move toward a hydrogen society.”