Toyota North America
Toyota Hino Hydrogen Truck

Toyota USA and Hino Trucks Developing Hydrogen Truck Together

Oct. 6, 2020
Toyota already sells the Mirai, a midsize, hydrogen-powered consumer vehicle, in California and Japan.

Toyota Motor North America announced October 5 that it and Hino USA had agreed to collaborate on building a new, hydrogen fuel cell-powered truck, edging in on an increasingly crowded market.

According to Toyota North America, a demonstration vehicle should be ready by early 2021. The Class 8 truck will be built on the Hino XL series chassis using Toyota fuel cell technology.

"A fuel cell powered version of the Hino XL Series is a win-win for both customers and the community. It will be quiet, smooth and powerful while emitting nothing but water," said Tak Yokoo, senior executive engineer of Toyota research and development. "Toyota's twenty plus years of fuel cell technology combined with Hino's heavy-duty truck experience will create an innovative and capable product."

Glenn Ellis, Hino’s VP of customer experience, said his company “shares a common focus with Toyota when it comes to durability, reliability, and innovation.”

Toyota currently sells the Mirai, a midsized consumer vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells, in California and Japan, but automakers are increasingly investing in hydrogen fuel cell technology as an adaptation well-suited to powering freight trucks. Vehicles that run on hydrogen fuel cells are just as carbon-free as fully battery-powered cars, but hydrogen is significantly lighter than batteries. While much of the research currently surrounding automotive batteries is focused on making them lighter, several companies, including Nikola Corp. and now Toyota North America, have elected to develop hydrogen as a power source for long-haul vehicles.

But the technology also has its critics. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, has a long history of criticizing hydrogen fuel cells as inefficient and impractical compared to batteries. Nikola Corp., a hydrogen fuel-cell startup apparently named specifically in order to spite Musk (both names refer to the same inventor, Nikola Tesla), has recently come under intense scrutiny after a short seller accused the company of fraudulently overselling its capabilities.

Trevor Milton, the founder and CEO of Nikola, stepped down shortly thereafter. But that has yet to stop companies such as Toyota, Hyundai, Cummins, Daimler, and GM from investing in hydrogen vehicle technology.  

Popular Sponsored Recommendations

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of IndustryWeek, create an account today!