Toyota Motor Co. tends to have a road map when throwing cash at projects — and once those projects become public knowledge, chances are that commercialization is part of the plan.
At least that’s the likely route for the giant automaker as it uses its “Project Portal” program to test the viability of hydrogen fuel cell technology — first developed for the Mirai passenger sedan — for trucking applications.
Toyota is trying to build a market case for its prototype Project Portal Class 8 electric drayage truck, slated to soon start making zero-emission trial runs from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. If successful, the logical progression would involve the company’s scaling fuel cells for use in other freight and passenger vehicles.
Planners at Toyota demur, cautioning that it’s far too early for such projections. But Craig Scott, senior manager for advanced technology marketing at Toyota North America, acknowledged that the company is considering new markets.
“We’ve done pretty wide local studies into which classes are needed in what parts of the world, and it is natural that fuel cell trucks could find their way into Class 5 and 6 delivery and work trucks in some parts the