Beers, parcels and car parts are to be hauled emissions-free in a road-test programme for a new hydrogen-fuelled heavy-duty truck. Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) is among a group of businesses that have agreed to launch on-road trials of fuel cell trucks (heavy-duty FCETs).
The tests, starting in spring 2022, will verify the feasibility of using fuel cells to reduce CO2 emissions in logistics and accelerate the commercial adoption of FCETs, contributing to the development of a sustainable society. Heavy-duty trucks currently account for approximately 70 per cent of all commercial vehicle CO2 emissions in Japan.
The other organisations taking part are Asahi Group Holdings Ltd (Asahi Group), Seino Transportation Co Ltd, NEXT Logistics Japan Co Ltd (NLJ), Yamato Transport Co Ltd and Hino Motors Ltd (Hino). Toyota and Hino are jointly developing heavy-duty FCETs; Asahi Group, NLJ, Seino Transportation, Yamato Transport and Toyota will perform the road trials as part of their logistics operations.
Asahi Group and NLJ: Asahi Group will load the trucks with beer and soft drinks produced at its Ibaraki Brewery and whisky, spirits, wine and other products from Asahi Breweries’ Heiwajima delivery centre. The products will be unloaded at the NLJ Sagamihara Centre, with cargo from Kansai being retrieved and returned to the Ibaraki Brewery.
- Seino Transportation: cargo will be transported between the company’s Tokyo, Sagamihara and Odawara branches.
- Yamato Transport: parcels and packages will be transported between the company’s Chronogate and Gunma hubs.
- Toyota: parts will be transported between Toyota plants in Aichi and the Toyota Tobishima Logistics Centre.
Heavy-duty FCETs used in highway transportation must have an adequate driving range and load capacity and allow for quick refuelling. Fuel cell systems, which are powered by high-energy-density hydrogen, are believed to be effective for the electrification of this kind of vehicle. The trucks under development are expected to have a target driving range of around 373 miles (600km). The objective is to meet high standards of environmental performance and practicality as a commercial vehicle.
All the companies participating in the trials have positioned global environmental issues as key management concerns and they are taking a range of actions, including reducing energy consumption in manufacturing processes and reducing the environmental impact of logistics operations. Each company will be accelerating its efforts for the early practical use of heavy-duty of FCETs, aiming to contribute to the development of a sustainable society.