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Kalmar collaborating with Toyota Tsusho America and Ricardo on fuel cell terminal tractors

Kalmar, part of Cargotec, is collaboratingwith Toyota Tsusho America and Ricardo in a project to develop fuel-cell-powered terminal tractors. As part of the project, a Kalmar customer in the US will trial two Kalmar Ottawa Terminal Tractors powered by fuel cell technology at their container terminal on the west coast.


Conventional Ottawa terminal tractor, powered by a Cummins diesel.

The Advanced Clean Truck rule, adopted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in 2020, requires truck manufacturers to shift away from fossil fuels to zero-emission technology. Beginning in 2024, manufacturers must increase their zero-emission truck sales to between 30 and 50 percent by 2030 and between 40 and 75 percent by 2035.

Ricardo plc, headquartered in the UK, is responsible for the design, integration and assembly of the fuel cells into the Kalmar Ottawa platform. Compared to battery-powered solutions, fuel-cell-powered terminal tractors will offer Kalmar customers extended operational uptime and reduce the need for new investments in electrical grid infrastructure.

We are applying the learnings we have gained from our battery-electric platform to implement a modular fuel cell platform that will help customers meet increasingly strict emissions targets. This is in line with our terminal tractor roadmap and supports Cargotec's 1.5°C climate ambition. As part of this effort, we are partnering with leaders in the fuel cell space to demonstrate the feasibility of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies for terminal tractor applications.

—Chris Dvorak, Director of Engineering, Kalmar



Why other than it another one of Toyota's WTF fuel cell projects? Kalmar already makes Battery Electric (BE) terminal tractors. The BE terminal tractors will be cheaper to operate and will require less energy and maintenance. I can not believe that the cost of adding electric grid infrastructure will be more expensive than adding the equipment required to deal with hydrogen. Even if it takes more time to charge the BE terminal tractors than it does to fuel with hydrogen, it would be less expensive to just buy an extra 5 or 10 % more BE terminal tractors. My best guess is that they are doing this because they have grant money to play with so that they are not spending their own corporate funds. It certainly does not make economic sense.

Use the hydrogen for some useful such as making ammonia for fertilizer.

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