Hino unveiled a hydrogen fuel-cell-electric prototype version of its Class 8 XL8 truck at the 2021 ACT Expo in Long Beach, California, Aug. 31.
In a pre-show video on Aug. 27 at its Michigan headquarters, company officials explained that the truck is powered by two Toyota fuel cells designed for commercial vehicles, a top unit and a bottom unit, which are under the hood in the traditional engine well. Toyota recently announced that starting in 2023, a dedicated line at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky in Georgetown, Kentucky, will begin assembling these fuel cell modules for use in heavy-duty commercial trucks.
The Hino prototype has a 12-volt battery system plus a high-voltage battery that works with the fuel cells to provide power and torque that the company says are equal to or better than diesel. The hydrogen tanks are located in a cabinet behind the cab. Behind that there’s a two-motor system and transmission, and a prop shaft leading to the rear differential.
Company officials noted that they announced their FCEV plans less than a year ago.
“It’s amazing what our team has been able to accomplish in a relative short period of time,” said Glenn Ellis, Hino's senior vice president of customer experience, in a news release. “We are looking forward to validating the performance, reliability and efficiency of our hydrogen fuel cell electric system in the XL Series chassis.”
Since the announcement last October, the company has “received significant interest from customers, and now we have something tangible to show them in our prototype FCEV,” said Bob Petz, Hino’s senior vice president of vehicle and part sales.
It’s part of Hino’s Project Z, the company’s development path to zero-emissions vehicles, ranging from Class 4 to Class 8. The zero-emission products announced in Project Z, in addition to the Class 8 FCEV, included a Class 5 Hino M5 chassis equipped with an Sea Electric Sea-Drive 120a, a Class 8 XL8 box truck powered by XOs Trucks’ X-Pack battery and electric drive system, and a Class 7 4x2 XL7 tractor powered by Hexagon Purus’ full electric drive system.