Toyota Looks To Disrupt Semi Transportation For The Better [Video]

Toyota, Hydrogen, Torque

It’s hard to deny the importance of alternative fuel sources for a number of reasons, from global warming to fuel economy, but the unsung hero is instant torque. We’ve all seen Teslas launching in “ludicrous mode” and it’s amazing, but imagine that same instant torque applied to historically slow moving vehicles, say semi-trucks. Toyota did just that, and more, with their hydrogen fuel cell system designed for heavy duty truck use at the Port of Los Angeles.

While now, “Project Portal” is being tailored to ports, the real world uses for instant torque, like this, in semi trucks would drastically improve transportation. No longer would semis be victim of their poor maneuverability which makes roads less safe and contributes to gridlock with slow acceleration. This video is a prime example of how Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell technology would improve semis in traffic or red lights alone verse traditional diesel.


  1. While that’s a great improvement for all truckers that get on board with it. But I am a heavy haul driver and I drive over a mountain pass four times a day. The greatest issue is still the stopping. Especially in winter. The brakes are already to small and a good hard breaking from 60 to a complete stop would basically burn up the brakes. A 100,000 lbs brick is not easy to stop

      • I’ve not seen the components of this truck but there must be a battery or capacitor in there. Fuel cells can produce a lot of output but they ramp up and down rather slowly with the introduction of Hydrogen into the cell. With either a battery or even better with a capacitor, you can now add regenerative braking to the system. This does multiple things, first recaptures the energy in the moving truck into the battery or capacitor and allowing it to be used to accelerate the vehicle again. With normal brakes that energy is turned purely into waste heat, with a little sound thrown in if the brakes have issues! This also then reduces the wear on the friction brakes and importantly the heat dumped into them by the decelerating truck. Thus they wear much longer and heat up far less. It’s heat that lowers the brakes availability to slow the vehicle. This is standard fare on all hybrid and electric vehicles so i would fully expect Toyota to have included this on these trucks as well.

        One more thing, if you don’t think this works for large vehicles then check out the dynamic brakes on any locomotive because that is exactly how they help to slow trains. The only difference being they don’t store that energy they throw it away as heat out the top of the locomotive.

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