Kentucky to be home to Toyota’s new fuel cell modules facility

Kentucky to be home to Toyota’s new fuel cell modules facility

August 31, 2021 0 By John Max

The automaker will make the components for hydrogen powered heavy duty commercial trucks.

Toyota has announced that it will be making hydrogen fuel cell modules at its huge Kentucky auto-assembly plants.

Toyota has been among the major players among automakers producing H2 powered vehicles.

The Japanese automaker has been seeking to commercialize hydrogen electric vehicles for decades. This is nothing necessarily new for Toyota. That said, this effort has greatly expanded in recent years. Now, it will be broadening its production by adding fuel cell modules to the Kentucky plant. These components will be used in zero-emission heavy duty commercial vehicles and long-haul trucks.

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The automaker will be establishing a dedicated line at the facility in Georgetown, Kentucky. According to the company, these electrochemical devices will begin production in 2023. They are dual fuel cells and produce 160 kilowatts of continuous electricity. They are incorporated into the vehicle propulsion system along with hydrogen tanks, electric motors, and a high-powered battery, all of which are supplied by partner companies.Fuel cell modules - heavy duty trucks

Along with using the fuel cell modules for its own vehicles, it will also supply other manufacturers.

“We’re bringing our proven electric technology to a whole new class of production vehicles,” said Toyota Motor North America CEO and president Tetsuo Ogawa. “Heavy-duty truck manufacturers will be able to buy a fully integrated and validated fuel cell electric drive system, allowing them to offer their customers an emissions-free option in the Class 8 heavy-duty segment.”

Hydrogen powered vehicles haven’t taken off in passenger cars, but the technology is moving forward for larger vehicles such as buses and heavy trucks. Toyota is far from alone in pursuing this market. Hino, Hyundai Motor, Cummins, Daimler, Volvo, Nikola and others are all working on establishing hydrogen-powered long-haul trucks in coming hears. The companies prefer this technology to battery electric for heavy-duty and long-haul vehicles due to the large range and rapid refueling speed.

Moreover, the fuel cell modules and the rest of the powertrain are lighter, which is important as every pound counts in long-haul transport. These factors all make the technology appear to be the more viable choice for zero-emission transportation.