Toyota fuel-cell truck vs. diesel in drag race

Quimby Mug Bayou Florida Headshot

Drag races are fun, especially if it’s Toyota’s fuel cell semi versus a conventional diesel truck.

As you’ll see in the video below, it’s really no contest between Toyota’s concept truck, dubbed Project Portal, and an unnamed hauler, both of which are towing 35,000 pounds.

If you listen carefully, you’ll hear the diesel truck lugging along and changing gears as Project Portal, sans transmission, quickly and more quietly puts its 670-hp hydrogen fuel cell to work. Torque is rated at 1,325 foot pounds.

While specs aren’t given on Toyota’s competition, it’s still an impressive display of an advanced engine, albeit one not easily refueled given the absence of hydrogen infrastructure–a reality made even grimmer by the fact that the truck has an estimated range of only 200 miles.

Still, you have to start somewhere and Toyota is starting big. Completely aware of the vast trucking market in Southern California, the automaker will be putting Project Portal to work at the Port of Los Angeles later this summer and is currently working with the State of California to expand hydrogen fuel stations.

It’s interesting to note how Toyota jumped from its small fuel cell Mirai sedan to a Class 8 fuel cell semi, which consequently, is powered by two Mirai hydrogen fuel cell stacks and a small 12-kwh battery.

It brings to mind an important point made a few years ago by former GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, one of the major players behind the Chevy Volt. Lutz said in an interview with The Seattle Times that OEM vehicle electrification efforts should have begun with fuel-guzzling trucks–not small sedans.