Yesterday, I explored my interest in a fuel cell scooter (and it’s real!), but today, I thought I’d explore the more practical (dare I say more useful!) idea idea of a fuel cell truck.
First some background… When Ford first announced the electric F-150 truck , all I wanted to know was: Could F150 Lighting pull my travel trailer?
Could the F-150 Lighting pull a ~5000 lb travel trailer from California to Vermont?
At first my searches seemed promising…
The basic F150 Lightning package has a 7,700 lb towing capacity and pretty sure I read there are upgrades to get it to 10k pounds. However, my initial excitement with the idea of replacing our 2016 Mercedes 350 GLE with a F150 Lighting was quickly sunk when it became clear the range of an F-150 Lighting when towing is only about 150 miles…
Thinking back to my travel last summer of going from California to Maine and back, the idea of needing to stop every 150 miles to recharge is beyond painful and obviously totally impractical. (Let alone our much more common trips to Paso Robles)
On that trip, there were plenty of adventures that would have simply been impossible with an electric truck towing a trailer even if it got 250 miles to the charge while towing.
For example, at one point we were hanging out with friends for 4th of July in Michigan and then planned to meet up with family in a campground in Idaho 3 days later. The idea of needing to sit to recharge a battery for even a half-hour every few hours of driving has me thinking this trip that took us 3 days would have taken at least a week…
Which leads me to the idea of fuel-cell truck. This is where the range and refueling options could make a world of difference.
And love that both Ford and Toyota have recently announced initiatives recently to bring fuel cell trucks to reality.
- SoCalGas, Ford developing F-550 Super Duty Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Truck
- Toyota to launch new hydrogen fuel cell trucks in Japan in 2023
Now, neither of these appear to be trucks geared towards the consumer market, (nor does Nikola’s fuel cell truck) but the idea of testing them out in commercial/industrial settings makes a ton of sense. Assuming they can deliver the power and range needed in these settings, it would seem a no-brainer to make a less powerful (but still powerful enough) consumer version.
So, who is going to make it happen! I want to buy a fuel cell truck even more than a fuel cell scooter and would happily replace both our Mercedes (really only keeping it around because it’s needed for towing our trailer) and our Mirai with one vehicle.
Finally, I realize the trip I mentioned above that would be so painful in an electric truck would be impossible with today’s hydrogen infrastructure. But still, assuming fuel cell trucks can retain the range of a gas powered truck when towing, I’d have to think the infrastructure issues would be easier to solve with hydrogen than vastly extending the range of battery packs.
If you think I’m wrong, I’d love to hear why.