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PACCAR and Toyota expand hydrogen fuel cell truck collaboration to include commercialization

PACCAR and Toyota Motor North America announced an expansion of their joint efforts to develop and to produce zero-emissions, hydrogen fuel cell (FCEV) Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks powered by Toyota’s next-generation hydrogen fuel cell modules.


The expanded agreement supports ongoing development and commercialized zero-emission versions of the Kenworth T680 and Peterbilt 579 models featuring Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell powertrain kit, with initial customer deliveries planned for 2024.

PACCAR and Toyota have collaborated on FCEV truck development for the past several years, including a successful pilot program which deployed ten Kenworth T680 FCEV trucks at the Port of Los Angeles. The pilot provided both Kenworth and Toyota with real-world feedback that further enhanced the performance and range of the vehicle.

Designed for use in heavy-duty commercial vehicles, Toyota’s heavy-duty fuel cell electric powertrain kit was recently awarded the Zero Emission Powertrain certification by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). (Earlier post.) Toyota will begin assembly of the modules in the United States in late 2023.



As is typical of Toyota, they have extensively tested in real world conditions for reliability etc, which is a massive priority for trucking operations.

I have every confidence that these will do just what it says on the label, without spewing crap on everyone in the locality, and also addressing GW


PACCAR Already has a battery electric version of this truck, the T680E. While the fuel cell version has more range, the BE version has more power and should be considerably less expensive to purchase and own. It is interesting that the fuel cell version has a battery that is half as large as the battery of the battery electric version in addition to using all of the space behind the cab for hydrogen tanks. I do not know which one weights more but fuel cell version can not be much if any lighter with all of the tanks and additional fuel cell hardware. I would wager that PACCAR will sell far more of the BE version. While I am no fan of Elon Musk, the BE TESLA Semi has the same range as the T680 FCEV although neither of them are commercially available at the present.

Davemart, you have a lot more confidence in Toyota than I do although I would note that Hino, a Toyota company, is going to sell battery electric trucks in North America.



I am simply not part of the religious wars on batteries vs fuel cells, or hydrogen burning ICE for that matter.

Where the performance of real batteries, not some projected future dream battery, matches the duty cycle needed, fine, use them.

But down time etc means they often don't, so use fuel cells, with their advantage being more pronounced the more hours of use you need per day, the heavier the load and issues with power supply and battery degradation being some of the issues.

Am I being two faced in not giving too much credibility to claims that 'real soon' batteries will be simply bloody marvellous, whilst being tolerant of relatively high present costs for fuel cells and hydrogen?

Not really, simply because of the relatively early stage on the cost reduction and volume curves where fuel cells and hydrogen are.

I said the same 15 years ago about batteries, where it was obvious that there was loads of headroom for improvements without radical change and cost reduction through more volume.

At that stage of the game, it is posssible to get very good forecasts of costs.

Not so later on, when the cost reduction curve has flattened using more or less the same tech, and you need unpredictable breakthroughs to get really significant further reductions.

Both fuel cell costs and delivered hydrogen costs are highly likely to greatly reduce by 2030.

Things are a lot tougher for batteries, although breakthroughs are possible, you can't count on when the cavalry will arrive.

Commercial fleet managers are a pretty pragmatic bunch, and are going to use whatever does the job in the current legislative framework.

Use batteries by all means where they are a good fit, but fuel cells are a great option for a far more drop-in replacement for diesel, which is wholly reliant on their emissions of crap and GW gases not being charged to them, although that does not mean that they are not real costs.

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