Toyota has announced its plans to manufacture hydrogen drivetrains in the United States, particularly in Kentucky. Initially targeting heavy-duty commercial trucks, Toyota eventually aims to produce them at the Georgetown facility for passenger cars as well. Mitsumasa Yamagata, president of the Hydrogen Factory, believes that venturing into trucking will enable Toyota to reach fuel cell volumes of up to 200,000 commercial and passenger vehicles by 2030.
Toyota has already secured business offers to support a volume of 100,000 fuel cell systems in 2030, with heavy-duty trucks accounting for around 35% of the total. However, the company anticipates reaching the 200,000 mark through newly established partnerships with truck manufacturing companies. One notable partnership is the agreement with Daimler Truck Holding AG, in which Toyota’s Hino truckmaking subsidiary will merge with Daimler’s Mitsubishi Fuso truck unit, with a focus on introducing hydrogen-powered trucks.
Toyota’s Chief Technology Officer, Hiroki Nakajima, emphasized that reaching production volumes of at least 10,000 units per month is crucial for the break-even point in hydrogen fuel cell production. This requires driving down the cost of the technology, which currently relies on precious metals, precision manufacturing, and expensive carbon fiber-wrapped tanks. Nakajima stated that reducing the price precedes increasing the volume, but once a tipping point is reached, there will be significant expansion in the market.