Toyota will build heavy-duty truck fuel cell modules in Kentucky

Toyota Motor North America will add a dedicated production line for heavy-duty truck fuel cell modules to its assembly complex in Kentucky, moving its zero-emissions technology from prototype to production.

Toyota (NYSE: TM) doesn’t make heavy-duty trucks. However, it is betting a market exists for hydrogen-powered fuel cell systems, which it initially created for its Mirai fuel cell passenger sedan.

Combining two Mirai fuel cell systems creates sufficient power to move a loaded 80,000-pound heavy-duty truck more than 300 miles between fill-ups with liquid hydrogen., said David Rosier, Toyota Kentucky powertrain head.

Daimler Truck and Volvo Group recently finalized a fuel cell joint venture that expects to begin making fuel cells for both companies’ heavy-duty trucks around the middle of the decade. South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Corp. has delivered dozens of fuel cell trucks to Switzerland and plans to begin demonstrations in the U.S. as soon as this year.