It's even smarter than the Tesla semi.
The Toyota Mirai is a pretty odd-looking car but underneath the skin, it houses one of the most advanced powertrains available in a production vehicle. We are referring to the Mirai's hydrogen fuel cell, which converts hydrogen into electricity, emitting only water vapor in the process. This idea could essentially eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars without requiring owners to charge at home where electricity is typically generated from burning coal.
Toyota has already partnered with Kenworth to put a hydrogen fuel cell into a semi-truck that's been doing service around Los Angeles. Now the Japanese automaker has partnered with Hino Motors to jointly develop another heavy-duty fuel cell truck.
Hino is a Toyota Group company and the number one selling medium and heavy-duty truck company in Japan. It currently produces buses, diesel engines, and the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado in Japan as well as medium-duty trucks at its Mineral Wells, West Virginia plant, while axles, knuckles, and suspension components for the Toyota Tacoma, Tundra, and Sequoia are made at its Marion, Arkansas plant.
The fuel cell truck (pictured in the above sketch) will be based on the Hino Profia and will take advantage of the technologies at the disposal of the two companies. Hino says the chassis will be specially designed to package a fuel cell and comprehensive weight reduction has been performed to ensure a sufficient load capacity.
The truck will be equipped with two Toyota fuel cell stacks that have been developed for use in the next-generation Mirai (pictured below). Hino estimates the fuel cells will allow a driving range of around 600 kilometers (370 miles) but unlike the Tesla semi-truck, which requires a lengthy charging stop, this fuel cell truck will only need a short fill-up of hydrogen. Toyota and Hino don't mention when the truck will hit the road but consumers will be able to sample this technology in the new Mirai, which is expected to go on sale in 2020 as a 2021 model.