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Toyota Shows Off First Hydrogen-Powered Tractor Rig

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Toyota Fenix UTR Prototype
Photo: Toyota

Back when Toyota announced Project Portal, which involves the development of hydrogen fuel cell semi-trucks, the automaker was adamant that this kind of heavy-lifting work was one of the best use-cases for the cutting-edge powertrain technology.

Now the automaker is proving it again with the very first hydrogen fuel cell electric utility tractor rig, which it announced at the 43rd Fuel Cell Seminar and Energy Exposition in collaboration with Fenix Marine Services.

The UTR prototype, which Toyota calls “UNO,” was conceptualized and developed by Toyota engineers and first used at the Fenix terminal in October to “test…how zero-emission container handling equipment could operate in a real-world, marine terminal environment.”

Related: Learn more about alternative fuel vehicles

The Fenix terminal, located in the Port of Los Angeles, handles over a million containers per year. UNO will help it meet its commitment to the port’s Clean Air Action Plan goals, which focuses on increasing the use of near-zero and zero-emission container handling equipment by 2030, to help the port meet or exceed the state’s now controversial air emissions goals.

The UNO, which chief engineer Andrew Lund says Toyota views as an expansion of the Project Portal development, uses the same modular fuel cell foundation as both the Toyota Mirai passenger car and the aforementioned semi-trucks prototypes.

During its first test cycle at the Fenix terminal, UNO ran for 2.5 hours before having consumed the entirety of one of its two hydrogen tanks. Toyota says that additional tanks can be added to enhance range, and that refilling a tank only takes about three minutes, which is a lot quicker than using traditional batteries.

Related: Why buy a Toyota hybrid car?