New heavy-duty truck prototype has improved range and passenger accommodation
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Toyota has unveiled its second hydrogen fuel-cell Class 8 heavy-duty truck at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan. The new truck is dubbed Beta, and is part of its Project Portal program.

Like the original Alpha truck, the new Beta model uses two "off-the-lot" Mirai drivetrains running in series, hooked up to a 12kWh lithium-ion battery. The combined setup generates over 500kW of power, and 1796Nm of torque.

While Alpha had a range of around 320 kilometres on a full tank of hydrogen, the new truck is said to be able to do over 480km between fills.

Others changes include a new sleeper cab, and a new fuel cabinet. The truck is said to have a gross combined weight capacity of over 36 tonnes.

Alpha covered around 16,000km as a drayage vehicle, transporting goods over short distances in and around the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles in California. It likely performed this role due to the limited number of hydrogen filling stations.

Toyota says the Beta truck will perform similar real-world tasks, and will begin work at the ports during the northern autumn of 2018.

As with other fuel cell vehicles, the Project Portal trucks have electric motors powered by a hydrogen fuel-cell stack, which combines stored hydrogen with oxygen drawn from the atmosphere.

The only tailpipe emission is water, but the process for producing hydrogen is highly energy intensive, and can produce not-insignificant amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases if the factory is powered by conventional power plants.