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Port of Los Angeles to Evaluate Vision Industries’ Tyrano Fuel Cell Hybrid Class 8 Trucks

Vision Industries Class 8 zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell hybrid-electric truck at the Port of Los Angeles. (Photo: Business Wire). Click to enlarge.

The Port of Los Angeles is entering into negotiations with Los Angeles-based Vision Industries for the purchase and evaluation of Vision’s Tyrano hydrogen fuel cell hybrid-electric trucks. (Earlier post.) The trucks will be tested to evaluate their suitability for short and medium distance drayage operations and other similar applications.

The Vision Industries trucks will be put through a series of on-road and laboratory tests to demonstrate their usefulness in a variety of drayage duty cycles, including different loads, road conditions and travel distances. Local drayage trucking companies are expected to assist with the demonstration over the next 12 to 18 months, and the University of California at Riverside’s College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) laboratories will help guide the data collection and analysis.

CE-CERT’s partnership with the Port of Los Angeles on this project is expected to help demonstrate the utility of zero emission vehicles in a variety of medium- and heavy-duty vehicle applications that extend beyond the port setting. The Port of Los Angeles will be submitting a proposal for funding from the California Energy Commission to help support this project.

The California Energy Commission has established an Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program to develop and deploy advanced transportation technologies to help attain the state’s climate change policies.

The Port of Los Angeles will continue working with Balqon Corporation, another Class 8 electric vehicle manufacturer, through an existing contract to demonstrate the use of its fully electric vehicle. (Earlier post.) The CE-CERT laboratories will also guide these evaluations.

The Vision trucks are powered by a combination of a hydrogen fuel cell and lithium-ion batteries and have a potential range of up to 400 miles with the extended hydrogen storage option (33 kg of gaseous hydrogen, vs. the standard 16.5 kg).

We are very pleased to work with the Port of Los Angeles to demonstrate the viability of our zero emission, hybrid electric/hydrogen fuel cell truck. These vehicles are 30 percent to 40 percent less expensive to operate than diesel trucks. We expect a strong market demand once these trucks are in the hands of California medium and heavy duty equipment operators.

—Martin Schuermann, President and CEO of Vision Industries

FedEx Freight Corp. is also testing a tractor powered by the hydrogen/electric hybrid Tyrano drive train. As part of an agreement announced in November 2009, Vision Industries will configure a FedEx Freight tractor with the Tyrano drive train. The reconfigured vehicle will then be tested for one year in certain operations to evaluate the operational suitability of the Vision Tyrano technology.

The Port’s Clean Truck Program, which began in October 2008, has removed thousands of polluting trucks from the Port and delivered at least an 80 percent reduction in air emissions while maintaining an efficient drayage fleet.

The Port of Los Angeles believes that zero emission vehicles will be necessary in coming years in order to contribute to achieving the goals for the transportation and port sectors under California’s AB 32 greenhouse gas reduction legislation and the City’s GreenLA initiative. This has led the Port to begin planning for a transition to zero emission vehicles over the next decade.


Henry Gibson

Use ZEBRA batteries for greater distance and less cost than hydrogen fuel cells. ..HG..


I would use CNG or DME HEV for lower cost per unit.


As they say in one of the links the operating costs for this is half that of cng.


I scanned all the links and could find mention of CNG. It is a matter the most good for the least invested. If you are after cleaner air, CNG/DME hybrids would not cost much and are proven. There is a risk factor in every business decision and most business would rather go with something proven to work.


Thats because it was lng not cng.. babble.

Also remember because of regs and blah blah blah they have to have a certain number of zev trucks so they might as well go h2 and just convert nat gas onsite.

Also maintenance is a big deal here. With a fuel cell its simple plug and go and its expected to be 10-30-60000 hours before replacements. Just one engine replacement can push a normal cng truck past the cost of operating a fuel cell assuming as they do the fuel cells themselves will get under x bucks each before they have to replace many of them.

As for zebra batteries.. they dont have enough cargo cap to haul the pack needed for such a beast. Your dealing with a gargantuan energy demand that would require a zebra battery in the range of about 10-20 metric tons.


Well, they are still testing the Balqon trucks so EV trucks are not out. Not too convinced about Zebra batteries. They are cheaper but not as good as Li-ion judging from the usage in buses.

Not too sure about the Tyrano. Wasn't too impressed with them during their launch (no details on actual fuel cell specs, like kW output, website light on details). We'll see, I guess.


Well you can tell how much power they need from the 33 kg of h2. Even if they are using a relatively old sub 50% eff fuel cell thats giving them about about 528 kwh of energy. Now with a typical battery pack they would need likely 7-800 kwh of capacity...

That would be a 6-800 grand pack the size of a u haul trailer and weighing about 8-10 tons.

Lawrence Weisdorn

Wintermane2000, you are absolutely correct in estimating the size and the weight of the equivalent battery pack. The cost of the batteries have come down somewhat and you can now buy some pretty decent lithium ion packs for around $500 per kWh. So the pack would only be $400K. Vision just sold their 1st Tyrano to the Port of Los Angeles for $255K. So your choice. Which would you rather have, one entire operating hydrogen fuel cell truck or slightly more than half of a battery pack?

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