As anyone who drives a Prius, or any number of other vehicles already knows, Toyota is a world leader in developing alternative fuel technologies for a broad variety of vehicles, including many built by other manufacturers. Just for example, the Subaru Crosstrek hybrid gets its battery and charging systems from Toyota for installation in a Subaru-engineered vehicle. The same strategy is in evidence here, even if it involves a whole new range of alternate fueling. Toyota is now a partner with PACCAR, the Pacific Northwest-based manufacturer of Kenworth and Peterbilt heavy trucks, on developing hydrogen fuel cells that will power future editions of these big rigs.
PACCAR and Toyota have been cooperating on the creation of these zero-emissions haulers for several years now. The pilot program involved 10 hydrogen fuel cell-powered Kenworth trucks assigned to duties at the Port of Los Angeles. The test was positive and earned Toyota an all-important approval for the fuel cell system from the California Air Resources Board. Toyota plans to begin customer assembly of the fuel cell system late this year. The test rigs, and intended recipients, were Kenworth’s T680 tractor and its cousin, the Peterbilt 579.