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Toyota, Kenworth tout fuel cell electric truck capabilities with completion of truck operations for ZANZEFF

Toyota Motor North America and Kenworth Truck Company said they have proven the capabilities of their jointly designed heavy-duty, Class 8 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) as a potential zero-emissions replacement of diesel-powered trucks with the completion of their operations in the Zero- and Near-Zero Emissions Freight Facilities (ZANZEFF) “Shore to Store” project at the Port of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles basin and the Inland Empire. (Earlier post.)


The primary goal for Toyota and Kenworth’s participation in the project was to match nearly the performance of diesel-powered drayage trucks while eliminating emissions to provide a sustainable solution in heavy-duty transportation. The baseline for the Toyota-Kenworth T680 FCEV truck—codenamed “Ocean”—was a 2017 diesel engine operating about 200 miles a day.

The T680 FCEV has a range of about 300+ miles when fully loaded to 82,000 lbs. (GCWR), and with no downtime between shifts for charging and the short 15- to 20-minute fill time, the FCEVs could run multiple shifts a day and cover up to 400 to 500 miles.

Kenworth designed and built the Class 8 T680 FCEVs, while Toyota designed and built the powertrain’s fuel cell electric power system powered by hydrogen. The Ocean trucks reduced Greenhouse Gases (GHG) by 74.66 metric tons of CO2 per truck annually compared to the baseline diesel engine.

The success of the 10 trucks in serving real-world customers was a result of close collaboration among diverse project members, including Kenworth and Toyota, The Port of Los Angeles as the project lead, Shell for hydrogen fuel infrastructure and a grant from the California Air Resource Board (CARB).

The program paves the way for further development and commercial opportunities for hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric transportation in California and beyond.

Though officially concluding their duties in the ZANZEFF “Shore to Store” project on 5 August 2022, some of the trucks will remain in use as demonstration or working models, including one that will continue supporting Toyota operations in the lower LA Basin.

Although the overall ZANZEFF project is anticipated to conclude later this year, the recently concluded “Shore to Store” project funded under ZANZEFF was proposed with support from Toyota, Kenworth and Shell and funded with a $41-million grant awarded by CARB.

“Shore to Store” provided one of the largest real-world, proof-of-concept test cases to show the practical application of hydrogen-powered fuel cell technology at scale in a framework for freight facilities to structure operations for future goods movement from the “Shore to the Store” in the world.

The 10 “Ocean” trucks for this project were operated by customers, including, among others, Toyota Logistics Services, Total Transportation Services, Inc. and Southern Counties Express. With the completion of this project, the door is now open for the technology to be adopted more widely for use in other heavy-duty applications, including increasing use of heavy-duty trucks in commercial transportation.

Shell contributed to the project by building a total of three hydrogen stations (two ZANZEFF and one additional in the operating region), the first public provider in California to fuel heavy-duty trucks. With the set routes for the trucks’ drayage operations, the stations were regularly used, providing quick refueling to keep the trucks in operation.

Toyota plans to produce fuel-cell powertrain modules at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky from 2023.



Well, sd, it would appear that they are proven operationally to have enough power for the intended application, something which you were doubtful of.

It is perhaps another question whether the power is enough to meet the tastes of the drivers, as talking for instance to some using battery electric trucks for Ikea deliveries here in the UK the drivers are not keen on the their limitations for motorway driving.

It will be interesting to see what the drivers say, if they are interviewed.

I will keep an eye out for that.


The question with fuel cells trucks is cost. Which is never, ever, mentioned. Like in this article.

BEV trucks have some known price stickers and operating cost, and these are pretty interesting (although higher than diesel counterparts).
But FC trucks and H2 fueling is a complete mistery, and published estimations never look realistic.


Here is driving the Toyota/Kenworth FCEV truck:

Note that the top speed is limited to 70mph, way below the 90(?) mph sd gives as typical truck speeds in the US, although higher than the 65mph of the BEV trucks tested here.
Certainly fine or Europe, in any case.


Hi peskanov

There are a considerable number of cost estimates out there, and yet more for the closely allied although not identical field of FC buses, which are nearer deployment in numbers.

You may chose to regard them as unrealistic, but they are there.

Of course, for such early stage stuff which necessarily rely on economies of scale in a number of fields, including fuel cell costs, and hydrogen production and distribution, a lot of the pricing depends on whether or not it takes off.

Here are Loop Energy's figures:

They reckon that the high efficiency of their fuel cells mean that at European prices for diesel and hydrogen they are competitive right now.

We do have more solid figures on maintenance etc, where for instance several years experience in buses, even though they were in the nature of things early examples which have since been greatly refined and improved, mean that fuel cells are clearly lower maintenance than diesels.

They also outperform BEVs on a cost basis where turnaround and refueling times are important.



Here are some estimated purchase costs for BEV and FCEV trucks in 2025:

Unfortunately for early stage technology like FC trucks, the error bars will tend to be bigger than the cost estimates ! ;-)

The figures for BEVs with a more mature tech should be more solid.


I took a peek at the links. The first one it's just too simplistic; it compares current hydrogen from natural gas origin (no even blue hydrogen, which implies carbon capturing) with European diesel (which is loaded with taxes). Not a mention of FC stack cost, nor storage.

The second is much better, but still lacking. The target for a study of cost should be a metric like cost per km and ton. But they don't even try, they compare prices of vehicles and fuels, without taking lifespan in account. Both batteries and FC have lifespans which (probably) require replacing before the end of life of the vehicle.

And, as you pointed out the cost estimation of fuel cells looks crazy, the more expensive being over ten times the cheaper!

Sorry, I still have to see a decent case for the economics of FC trucks...


Hi peskanov:

Perhaps I can shed a bit of light on it from a cost and works perspective, as I was one of the guys who would have turned out figures for this sort of thing, although I was only a at a low level fresh from school.

It is really down to difficulties estimating costs in any early stage technology prior to mass production, not specific or peculiar to hydrogen and fuel cells.

So for instance if anything happens, say a war in Europe, pushing up prices for diesel, then a hydrogen alternative becomes more attractive.

Not only does that increase demand for hydrogen, so enabling more demand for, for instance, electrolysers, but that increased demand really pushes the costs down very rapidly for early stage projects.

That is why the likes of Tesla engaged in such massive boosterism, to get critical mass to drive costs down for batteries.

That is what is happening right now to electrolyser costs, with new factories of many times previously built capacity being ordered in loads of places.

That then drives down hydrogen costs, which in turn enables the possibility of far higher volume for fuel cells.

So you could have a reasonable cost projection of, say, $800,000 for a fuel cell truck based on an expectation that you will only be producing a few hundred a year, and another equally reasonable projection of half the cost, based on an expectation of several thousand a year.

So strangely costs are rather more solid further out, when we can narrow the options substantially for cost ranges for, for instance, hydrogen, and also and partly in consequence for fuel cell vehicles,


Davemrt, First, I never said that the Toyota/Kenworth FCEV truck was not capable of handling the drayage route from LA ports to the so-called "Inland Empire". This is mostly urban stop and go traffic. What I said was that you did not need Fuel Cell Trucks for this purpose as Battery Electric would be sufficiently capable and less expensive.

Second, I never said that we have 90 mph highways. We do have a number of roads in the west that have 80 mph speed limits for cars and trucks. There is one highway in Texas that has an 85 mph speed limit but I am not sure it is 85 mph for trucks. Most North American long haul trucks have 400 to 500 hp (300 to 375 kW). What I said was that 180 kW of fuel cell continuous power was not enough power for long haul trucking especially in the western US.

It is worth noting that one of the major companies operating on this drayage route just purchased 41 Volvo Battery Electric semi-truck tractors (articulated lorries?).
They probably could have gotten a good deal on the Toyota/KenWorth FCEVs but it will be more economic to run the battery electric trucks on this route. Some people refer to this as voting with you pocketbook.

We need clean (or green) hydrogen. However, until we have sufficient nuclear power to use either high temperature thermochemical techniques or moderately high temperature electrolysis we need to use the green hydrogen to replace the hydrogen currently made using steam reformation of natural gas for making ammonia,etc.


Hi sd:

Apologies for any misrepresentation of your position, which was inadvertent, hence for instance my inclusion of a (?) against the 90mph, as I could not recall the precise figure you gave.

I always find your comments and take interesting and informed, even when we are not in agreement, and assure you of my utmost respect, although of course I will continue to argue my views until convinced otherwise.

As for whether batteries alone can do the job, the only folk in the heavy freight industry who agree with you are Tesla, who are not currently in it, and the VW group, sort of.

In fact their subsidiary Tratton is the only one with funds enough to go the fuel cell route if they wished to, with Mann strapped for cash.

And interestingly, dissent seems to be breaking out even in the laager of VW:

So Skoda has crossed the party line, and resumed development of fuel cell trucks for long distance.

My own view is that a lot of the exagerated claims for what batteries can do was and is a political move, to claim the moon to attract subsidies and other incentives.

And VW have had an awful time in their push for batteries everywhere.

From level pegging with the Toyota group in sales, important to a mass manufacturer, they are now down a couple of million cars a year.

Toyota have stuck to what batteries can really currently do at reasonable cost.

VW have gone the fantastical Musk route.

As I note elsewhere there is currently not the slightest sign that anything like current lithium ion batteries can be competitive for other than premium cars, not the first family cars in modest income countries which is where the massive expansion in demand will come, let alone in long distance heavy trucking.

India is not going for lithium ion batteries, and is looking to other chemistries and hydrogen for general transport, not just heavy trucking.

And electrolysis from renewables works just fine, with falling electrolyser costs meaning that as long as they are run for 2000 hours or more a year, they can be economic.

' In the past, high electrolyser costs have made it important to run electrolysers at high capacity in order to reduce capital costs per unit of production, which implied reliance on more expensive electricity from the grid. But as electrolysers capital
costs fall drastically, high utilisation will no longer be crucial. As Exhibit 2.3 shows, once electrolyser costs fall below $300/kW, electricity cost becomes the almost sole driver of green production costs as long as utilisation rates are above around 2000 hours per annum' pg 54

That is slightly a projection, but not by much, and may have changed for the better in view of the recent massive rise in conventional energy costs.

Topsoe Haldor's soec can hit 90% efficiency in conversion to hydrogen, although I do not seek to claim that they are anywhere near $300KW


I have no problem separating cost of small scale production with mass production, I understand these tentative units are expensive. But I still miss decent cost projections which include relevant details, like stack and battery lifespans, and hydrogen cost of distribution.

Related to your latest post, I think you are underestimating current support for BEVs by the industry. A few notes:
- You didn't mention BYD, which is as big as Tesla or maybe bigger. And BYD is the top producer of electric buses an trucks (ie 70.000 pure electric buses in 2021).
- There are many car brands going full electric (Volvo, Audi, Mercedes...); we just don't know if they will offer FC in the future or not. However, judging by their total lack of FC models and investment in FC technology, is hard to believe they are planning any other than BEVs.
- There are far more models of BEV trucks than FC trucks, no matter the size class of the truck. It's hard to believe all these brands lack have faith in the technology

A last mention to Toyota. All FC trucks I have seen carry big Li-ion batteries; from 40 to 150 kwh. This one from the article is an exception, as it only carries 12 kwh; [b]but still: it is Li-ion[/b].
You should start thinking a bit about Toyota's obsesion with NiMH. The company is just being conservative, but at the end of the road Li-ion is the most economical+robust chemistry available and they will use it sooner or later.


Hi peskanov

Good questions, all.

Here is some of the stuff I have.

Hyzon reckon on stack lifetimes:

' Hirano: The expected lifetime for fuel cells is about 20,000 hours for a less aggressive usage profile such as steady-state operation, but fuel cell life is highly dependent on the operational profile. Hyzon is working to achieve a lifetime of 20,000 hours under a more realistic operation profile. It is difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison with battery life, as these are measured in number of charging cycles.'

As they mention, there are many promising avenues to increase durability, perhaps more so than batteries, but your very valid question relates to where we are right now.

The figures Hirano give can be cross substantiated by, for instance, the far more extensive experience in the use of fuel cells for buses, which of course have a different although related profile, and also recent work on marine fuel cells.

It is pretty clear that they are credible, and in the ball park,

We could really do with pushing that to 30,000 hours.



BYD are not daft enough to seek to be the leaders in all technologies.
So they rely on their jvs, for fuel cell vehicles with Toyota and the US Hybrid Corporation.



I am not sure why you should regard Toyota using NiMH batteries where they are suitable and cost effective as well as lithium ion where they are more suitable as an obsession.

Surely it is more appropriate to regard a monofocus on lithium ion whilst excluding 'from first principles' alternatives such as NiMH as an obsession?

Proclaiming the one and only true solution is pretty much the definition of obsession?


I don't think I have an obssesion with Li-ion, just being realistic.

Li-ion (which is a family of chemistries, not an specific chemistry) is substituting nearly all existing battery chemistries in the market. Not because it's a fad, but because it's better in nearly all parameters and going down in price constantly.

As the price goes down, all the others chemistries go obsolete.
NiMH got obsolete nearly a decade ago, as both competing batteries (LiFePo4 and LTO) got cheaper and were already better.

I don't think BYD is investing any serious money or effot on H2. I could be wrong, though.



I am confused as to why you should imagine that Toyota deciding to continue to use a NiMH battery in the utterly different duty cycle of a hybrid as opposed to a plug in hybrid let alone a BEV is a result of 'obsession'

They are around 1.5KWh not the many KWh of the other batteries, cycle way more frequently and need great cycle life under those conditions.

They have performed superbly in their couple of decades of use, and some time ago Toyota said that they were around 10% cheaper than lithium alternatives.

How do you manage to arrive at the conclusion that their use is an 'obsession' for Toyota?

Cheaper and proven to do the very different job to a PHEV or BEV seems an adequate rationale.

How do you conclude that it is the result of 'obsession?'


They're not saying it, but this is battery power truck with a range extender

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