That’s what Elon (Musk) called hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.


But now that Toyota have a concept version of their very own hydrogen fuel cell truck which runs short haul drayage routes at the Port of Los Angeles …


The big question: Is this all really just a marketing ploy by Toyota or is it a sustainable long-term solution? 





Toyota’s Plan: Build a Heavy-Duty Fleet + Zero Emission (well a little bit of water vapor).


As part of a feasibility study (a study of whether is it possible or not), Toyota has taken the step by having their hydrogen-fuel cell trucks move goods from a select few Port of LA and Long Beach terminals to the nearby rail yards and warehouses for distribution.


To really study whether this is something that’s possible, Toyota estimates that the trucks’ daily trips will total around 200 miles.


Now the idea, for now, is not about how far the trucks can go but to help find what’s the impact of the frequent cycling of its fuel cell system and what it will do to the packs since they’ll be refueled so often to run the short, frequent routes. 


toyota hydrogen fuel cell truck port la






The Anatomy of the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck.


Toyota’s Hydrogen Fuel Cell “concept” truck comes packed with more than 670 horsepower,  1,325 pound-feet of torque from two Mirai Fuel Cell stacks and a 12kWh battery charged by the cells.


With all that, it pretty much has a total combined weight capacity of around 80,000 pounds. 


toyota hydrogen fuel cell truck port la






Decades of what’s now something “good”.


Hydrogen fuel cells is something that has been in the works for decades.


But only recently has it got its share of recognition for its impressive performance and consistent range numbers that can be considered good enough to replace the daily driver’s gasoline powered truck. 


Hydrogen fuel cells work how you would think it would work. 


It uses hydrogen as its fuel and  the only thing it lets out is water vapor which is great.


But you may be asking:

“If this technology, like you said, has been there for decades, why hasn’t this been pursued earlier?”



It’s been due to the fact there’s always been a shortage of hydrogen in fueling stations. 


But there is a way around this. 


Experts propose that commercial vehicles like your trucks and your forklifts could benefit if it were given access to centralized, industrial fueling stations at ports or warehouses.





Toyota has experience with fuel cell vehicles than most automakers.


Toyota has always been bullish on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles than most automakers (of course you can’t disregard the likes of either Honda or General Motors).


If you go way back in 2015, you might remember that Toyota began selling their hydrogen-powered Mirai sedan in the US but that however proved to be a lackluster venture selling only several hundred units. 


Then back it again with the hydrogen cells, Toyota made plans to sell buses (yeah) powered by hydrogen fuel cells in Tokyo, in time for the coming soon 2020 Summer Olympics.


And they’re not alone.


There’s this startup called Nikola Motor Company (I must say Nikola Tesla must be in delight knowing startups are vying for his first and last name).


The Salt Lake City-startup, just like Toyota, are working on their own huge class 8 truck that’s powered using both battery electric and hydrogen power cells. 






It’s a two horse race. And one already has a bigger lead than the other. 


Electric battery powered vehicles are in the front line to becoming ever so more the better option than hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.


They’re way more efficient, a heck lot cheaper, and still has immense potential to what it can truly achieve.


And as of now more work and resources is being put into the advancement of battery-electric powered vehicles with companies like Tesla, Porsche, and Ford putting all their effort into making your next vehicle a electric powered one.


Though that is not to say hydrogen fuel cell is bullshit, it has a good side too such as fulfilling the needs for longer haul transport and at the same time reducing emissions.


But it just made it’s way a little late to the party.