Toyota’s Hydrogen Truck Smokes Class 8 Diesel In Drag Race – Video

Toyota Project Portal Hydrogen Fuel Cell Semi Truck


You wouldn’t race one, right? Wait, would you?

If you’ve ever driven an electric vehicle, then you’ve experienced the instant torque of an electric motor. And if you remember driving an old 5-speed manual gas-powered car, then you know that it takes a lot more work to get up to 65 miles per hour there than in a single-speed, fixed-gear EV. If you take this knowledge and apply it to semi trucks, then you won’t be surprised in any way by the video below.

Last week, Toyota gave out more details of its Project Portal hydrogen semi that will go into service at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles in California this summer. Toyota has only built one truck, so the automaker doesn’t have any extras to take to the drag strip. Still, Toyota did find the time to film both the Project Portal and a standard, Class 8 diesel semi accelerating on a wide expanse of asphalt. As you might suspect, the Toyota wins.

The Project Portal semi is powered by two fuel cell stacks taken from the Toyota Mirai. In the Mirai, one stack outputs 153 horsepower, but the way the two are strung together in the truck, they offer, “more than 670 horsepower and 1325 pound feet of torque.” This, plus the 15.5:1 fixed-gear nature of the zero-emission powertrain means that it’s simply easier for the hydrogen semi to accelerate than a diesel big rig with 18 gears.

Of course, Toyota is not alone in the zero-emission hydrogen/electric semi truck game. Nikola Motors introduced its big hydrogen semi dream last year, and Tesla, of course, is also working on … some sort of semi. Quick acceleration is not the raison d’etre for a big truck – the ability to haul 80,000 pounds wins there – but we can only imagine that easier, smoother acceleration is as nice in a giant truck as it is in a compact car or SUV.

See Toyota’s video below.

Source: Toyota, Car & Driver, Hat tip to Sven!

Categories: Toyota, Trucks, Videos

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36 Comments on "Toyota’s Hydrogen Truck Smokes Class 8 Diesel In Drag Race – Video"

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Electric motors have low end torque, we know this and they do too.

If you have to shift gears, only the horsepower matters since you’re going through the entire range of torque. From the video, it’s clear each gear shift took about 1 second, and there were 4 gear shifts. This is in addition to spool down/up of the engine. If diesel came with better transmission (ie, lot more expensive) and aggressive driving, I suspect the times would be similar.

Dream on!!!

The little white dot in the center is Tesla semi. Yes, it is imaginary rendering so far. But imagine how great is it will be! It will smoke all these fool cells, I promise! 0-60 in 2.5 seconds and solar powered battery swap stations across the continent! I promise!!!

Now please buy more shares for the great future, my companies are out of money again 🙁

You are a troll, but a funny one.

Tesla Tractor Trailer Trolliciously Tasty Treats!
Elon, for the Win!

If semis were looking for more acceleration they could just add a hybrid component to them. They’re really looking for efficiency more accurately cost of operation.

Are we really hoping to see 20 ton vehicles able to accelerate more quickly?

Fool cell fanboys have to settle for “victories” which don’t matter, ‘cuz they’ll never win the ones which actually do.


I regard being called a “troll” by a science denying fool cell fanboy like you, to be a badge of honor. So thanks!

Judge a man by the reputation of his enemies. –- Arabian proverb

Nah pu-pu, you are just plain narrow-minded idol-worshiping science-denying troll, incapable of intelligent discussion.

It it likely that the Toyota FC semi- also has a battery bank that can supplement the FC stack output to provide peak amps. That helps out a lot. I believe the Mirai has a 1 kWh pack included as part of its drive train to provide acceleration assistance and provide re-gen braking.

And yes, a little more acceleration capacity would be a good thing for a semi. Ever been “stuck” behind a loaded semi trying to get up to freeway speed on a short on-ramp? It creates a very dangerous situation.

But also, yes, a hybrid configuration could do the same thing much cheaper. Wrightspeed has a multi-fuel turbine-hybrid semi drive-train that makes a lot more sense than the Toyota FC version.

Just checked. Yes, the Toyota Portal has a 12 kWh battery

Turbines are great for electric plants, but automotive application requires some 20x lower costs than $1000/kW considered cheap by electric utility.
Which raises the question, can microturbines reach it in practice? PEM fuel cells can do it, and provide zero tailpipe emissions. I would guess it was the reason Nikola dropped the idea of microturbine in favor of FC.

Microturbines can be extremely light weight, but are much less efficient than diesels. It’s a step backward.

It’s not just a good thing for merging onto freeways. A faster accelerating semi truck might also help reduce congestion by speeding up the flow of stop-and-go traffic.

I prefer slow and steady over stop and go, because it wears brakes less. It’s not much slower than stop and go, and sometimes faster.

Unfortunately, you only get faster acceleration by using a lot more power to reach the same speed, decreasing efficiency and therefore increasing the cost of the energy (fuel or electricity) used by the semi tractor.

Once when I was caught in a traffic jam on a multi-lane Interstate, there was a semi a short distance ahead of me, and I saw the driver repeatedly pulling off onto the shoulder to block people trying to pass him by driving on the shoulder. I understood perfectly what he was trying to do; he was trying to maintain an even speed despite the stop-and-go movement of vehicles caught in a traffic jam. His attempt was frustrated every time a car pulled over in front of him, forcing him to slow.

Limiting acceleration, and avoiding stop-and-go driving as much as possible, is one way that heavy freight trucks keep their expenses down.

With repeated uses of trucks as weapons in Europe recently are we concerned about the safety issue of trucks not accelerating quickly?

Freeways were designed to accommodate merging slower traffic. And truckers are used to it too.

If there were a market for a “jackrabbit” truck we’d already have them everywhere. The trucking market revolves around cost of operation. If you make a “jackrabbit” truck then your competition will beat you by offering one that isn’t as rapid to accelerate but uses the same technology to save on fuel instead of accelerating quicker.

Make the trucks autonomous, and skip the need of a driver. Then hijacking one and trying to run over others is futile.

Regarding the Freeways and the merging: Possibly, but people die every single day in accidents caused usually by drivers who recognize the slow moving truck at the last moment and either crash into the truck or the vehicle in the lane they pull into in an attempt to avoid the collision with the truck.

A bit quicker acceleration could not hurt when multiple stops are of importance (e.g. yard mules). Freightliners need efficiency, of course.


I hear your worries but pretty much everything can be “weaponized”. When you combine a medium delivery truck with several barrels of Ammonium Nitrate / Kerosene slurry it gets WAY worse, even with slow acceleration…

I think Toyota’s point on the simple acceleration stunt was to show that the complete FCV propulsion system (Fuel Cells + battery) is plenty powerful to do the work of local hauling around SoCal ports with big pollution challenges. When people hear of two “Mirai Fuel Cell Stacks” as the primary power source for an 80 klb MGVWR truck, they are not impressed (only about 114kW x 2 total peak output). The “race” clarifies that the complete system is able to do what’s needed to have a completely streetworthy hauling rig.

If it makes sense to limit acceleration rate then that feature could certainly be programmed into the mapping of acceleration response without hurting climb or haul capacity.

unlucky asked:

“With repeated uses of trucks as weapons in Europe recently are we concerned about the safety issue of trucks not accelerating quickly?”

I’m not. Danger from terrorists in the USA is almost nonexistent, despite the huge amount of attention the news media gives it. I believe I’ve read that your chances of winning big in the lottery are, for Americans, 7 times our chances of being injured in a terrorist attack.

The best way to deal with terrorist attacks is simply to ignore them and not let them affect your plans. It’s too bad the news media doesn’t ignore them, because if there wasn’t any media coverage, then there would be no motive for terrorist attacks, and they would mostly stop. (But still, as they say: “If you see something, say something!”)

Yeh that’s right, adopt the ‘Ostrich’ position. You have no understanding of the tactics of terror- to intimidate people into fearful silence. And It’s working well in USA, with ever- increasing limitations on free speech.
The next 911 [yes, you’ve already forgotten or ignored that] may be far worse & complacency won’t help- if one of YOUR family/loved ones/friends is killed it MIGHT just wake you up.

Gosh yes, the way that the British reacted with a “stiff upper lip” and went about their business the day after there were coordinated attacks on the London subways, certainly proves the superiority of the American reaction of panicking and trying to shut down entire large cities — or, in the case of a few anthrax-laced letters, calling for shutting down the entire U.S. Postal Service — because the latter ginormous over-reactions really discourages more terrorist attacks, doesn’t it?


Frankly, I’m more worried about mushroom cloud in US from North Korean Missile. US should’ve taken cared of them in the past, now I’m afraid it’s too late. If Jim Jones (leader of Jonestown mass suicide) had nukes, I’m sure they would’ve used it, and NK is run just like a religious cult with nuke tipped ICBM.

NK does not have the capability to reach the U.S. we have had a much greater danger of Russia firing one from a submarine over the decades.

NK is working to improve the reach and reliability of their long-range missiles as rapidly as possible. The threat from NK is very real and growing month by month. Even if they can’t reach the continental U.S., our allies Japan and S. Korea are within reach. If Hawaii isn’t already within the reach of their missiles, it seems that it will be soon.

The threat of NK is something that needs to be dealt with, and a permanent solution found. This needs to happen within months, not years. But I don’t know if that will happen. Previous U.S. administrations have not been able to find a solution; it seems rather unlikely the current highly inept one can do better. But hey, miracles do happen.

If only transport firms bought these for their acceleration these HFCV trucks would be such a success!

Unfortunately what matters is $/mile and in that race Diesel beats hydrogen by a very wide margin.

It is, of course, the electric drivetrain of the Toyota that is winning the race vice the hydrogen transport liquid that is used to create electricity, stored in the battery and then fed to the electric motors.

I want to see a “race” that shows the cost of the fuel which the trucks burn per mile. That would also put the fool cell truck far ahead of the diesel; “ahead”, of course, in the sense of being far more expensive! 😉

Big Oil shill Pu-pu :/ Smell you beloved diesel exhaust until you get a clue why it is done!

Besides my being a Tesla fanman, i enjoy P-P’s forum comments for the great quotations he supplies. I am a writer and some of them can prove useful in a piece or a headnote.

Thank you, sir, for your kind words.

I can live for two months on a good compliment. — Mark Twain

Okay, let’s see how the electric does in a cross country race with the diesel.

That depends on whether they’re doing charging or swapping.