We’ve all been there. Stuck in traffic, a big rig in front of you and a thick cloud of diesel fumes descends on your car. Of course the first reaction is to click the recirculate button on your AC to try to limit the fumes that enter your car. Although that might be a little tougher if you are in a convertible or on a motorcycle. At that point you can’t help but wonder why those dreaded smog regulations don’t apply to large trucks.

Toyota Zero Emissions Heavy Duty Truck

Toyota Zero Emissions Big Rig

Yes that plume of diesel exhaust is legal. According to the DMV “smog inspections are required for all vehicles except diesel powered vehicles 1997 year model and older or with a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVWR) of more than 14,000 lbs, electric, natural gas powered vehicles over 14,000 lbs, motorcycles, trailers, or gasoline powered vehicles 1975 and older.” (DMV Smog Regulations).

The Toyota Solution

In a July 30, 2018 press release Toyota announced it’s second generation solution,

a hydrogen fuel cell class 8 truck. This new hydrogen fuel heavy duty truck was unveiled before industry leaders in Traverse City Michigan during the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) Management Briefing Seminars.

Instead of displaying a striped down truck in order to emphasize its estimated range Toyota has created a beautiful rig with a full sleeper cab. This Beta version of Toyota’s expansion into zero emission big rigs has an estimated range of about 300 miles between fills while emitting nothing more toxic than water vapor! This is a vast improvement over Toyota’s initial effort which still had a driving range of more that 200 miles from a truck capable of producing 1325 pound-feet of torque from a 12kWh battery and dual Mirai fuel cell stacks.

So when will we start to see these zero emission big rigs on the road. Well if you live in the LA area you may have already seen the alpha version which has been tested in the LA area since it’s launch in 2017. Toyota is still working on making this concept into a commercially viable replacement for the over 16,000 pollution emitting trucks that are currently in use around the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. A number that is expected to increase to over 32,000 by 2030. and with more than 43,000 drayage trucks in operation at ports throughout the US there is a considerable market out there for this environmentally friendly truck.

Our hats off go to Toyota in this endeavor with the hopes that this motivates others to continue to look to more environmentally friendly solutions to our increasing smog problems.