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How Hydrogen Fuel Will Change the Face of Heavy-Duty Trucking

It's no secret that the standard of gasoline-based vehicles is unsustainable and this is only truer when it comes to heavy-duty trucks. Eventually, we will run out of gasoline but, long before that happens, competition will render its use obsolete. 

There's no time to wait around when every day demands large-scale transportation.

Leading the charge for change is Toyota, which is currently developing a hydrogen fuel cell for use in heavy-duty vehicles. One advantage of hydrogen-based systems is their scalability; they will be capable of meeting most of the various existing transportation needs. 

Another company, Nikola Motors, is developing a fuel system which it states will "deliver a fuel efficiency equivalent to 15 to 20 miles per gallon and a range per hydrogen fill-up of 800 to 1,200 miles." Toyota needs to either meet or exceed these expectations to remain competitive and therefore both will continuously push each other to make the more efficient product.

But not only is Toyota aiming for efficiency, they are making sure the new cell will reduce diesel emissions. This will benefit everyone, especially urban locations and neighborhoods near highways and facilities. Reduced smog will be a beneficial side effect of these technologies once they begin large-scale production.

If all goes according to plan, the new cell will have next to no negative environmental impact. As Truckinginfo states, the way the cell works is by "combining hydrogen with oxygen to create a chemical reaction" which are "emissions-free, producing only water as a byproduct of the reaction." As time goes on, consumers increasingly seek out more eco-friendly products and these fuel cells will be able to meet their demands.

However, Toyota and Nikola are hardly the only ones getting their foot in the doorway. General Motors and the U.S. Army worked together to create the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2, a fuel cell-powered pickup truck. As more automakers enter the competition, we will only see greater developments in the field of sustainable heavy-duty vehicle fuel.