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October 16, 2017 2:15 PM, EDT
Toyota Class 8 With Hydrogen Fuel Cell to Run SoCal Drayage Route
Toyota Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell truck Car Chnl via YouTube

Toyota Motor North America Inc. will begin using its prototype Class 8 truck powered by a hydrogen fuel cell system in drayage operations at the nation’s two largest ports starting Oct. 23.

This follows testing of more than 4,000 “development miles,” according to the Torrance, Calif.-based company, which named the effort Project Portal.

The drayage truck, to be operated by Southern Counties Express Inc., will move goods from select Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach terminals to surrounding rail yards and warehouses for distribution — covering about 200 miles daily.

The Port of Los Angeles is the nation’s largest port, and the Port of Long Beach is second largest.

“Toyota continues to demonstrate the versatility and scalability of the zero-emission fuel cell powertrain,” TMNA Executive Vice President Bob Carter said in a statement. Parent company Toyota has developed the Mirai passenger car that also runs on a hydrogen fuel cell.

The Project Portal heavy-duty truck generates more than 670 horsepower and 1,325 pound-feet of torque from two Mirai fuel cell stacks and a 12kWh battery, a relatively small battery to support Class 8 load operations, according to the company. The truck’s gross combined weight capacity is 80,000 pounds.

At the same time, Kenworth Truck Co., a unit of Paccar Inc., is developing a hydrogen-electric drayage truck to work the same ports.

Nikola Motor Co. is developing an over-the-road and day cab Class 8 truck that uses hydrogen to replenish the battery-charging fuel cell, with road tests slated to begin in 2018.