Video: Toyota Project Portal Fuel Cell Truck Nearly Twice as Fast as Diesel
Video Shows Advantage of Seamless Electric Torque
Last week, we showed you Toyota’s Project Portal Class 8 hydrogen-fuel-cell concept truck. It was developed to show the feasibility of fuel-cell trucks for short-haul drayage use. For decades, the Class 8 truck segment has been dominated by diesel engines, and that trend continues today, although liquefied natural gas (LNG) and dimethyl ether (DME) have made minor inroads. It may be tempting to dismiss Toyota’s concept—as well as the forthcoming Nikola One truck—as a “science project,” however, this video demonstrates the real-world advantages of seamless, shiftless electric torque.
In this video, Toyota displays a split screen depicting a conventional diesel Class 8 truck and the Project Portal truck, both loaded to 35,000 pounds of gross vehicle weight, covering the same distance. The diesel truck takes 14.6 seconds to cover the distance, while the fuel cell truck does it in a significantly quicker 8.9 seconds. The fuel-cell truck has a healthy, but not astounding output of 670 hp and 1,325 lb-ft of torque. The motor is attached to a single-ratio gear reduction of 15.5:1. The horsepower figure is on the high side for a Class 8 truck, but the torque figure is actually on the lower side, with many trucks in the class making 2,000 lb-ft of torque or more.
One advantage of the fuel cell truck is it doesn’t have to shift, a task that noticeably slows down diesel trucks—most of which have a redline of only 2,100 rpm. Although fuel cell technology in Class 8 trucks will certainly have its share of skeptics at this early stage, this demonstration shows a clear advantage of the technology in terms of acceleration.