Hino Motors, a leading Japanese truck, and bus manufacturer has announced that it will follow its parent company, Toyota Motor Corporation, in championing a multiple powertrain pathway as it heads towards becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The strategy aims for carbon neutrality for the entire lifecycle of each Hino truck and bus, including production, use and disposal.
“It is essential to reduce the discharge of carbon into the atmosphere by using diesel oil as fuel for vehicles. Hino’s policy is to improve fuel consumption, adopt battery electric, fuel cell or hybrid vehicles depending on the type of operation, switch to low-carbon fuel and streamline the entire logistics system by using appropriate types of vehicles,” commented Koji Toyoshima, Hino’s Chief Product and Project Officer.
Hino is looking to use single platforms for each of its model ranges and they will be fitted with the most relevant power plant for each application, be it battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell or plug in hybrids, with an internal combustion engine and battery, with all of them having the wheels driven ultimately by an electric motor.
Hino is even going so far as to evaluate a unified engine structure for fuel diversity, which involves developing a base internal combustion engine that can operate as a normal diesel or be adapted to run on liquid compressed natural gas as well as gaseous compressed natural gas and hydrogen gas, which is an innovative method of spreading research and development costs effectively and reasonably.
Hino has also come up with a novel system to lower operating costs by using a standardised battery which can be used singly or in batches of four or six or more depending on the application. This can be done with customers buying the vehicle and battery or batteries separately. This also means the batteries can be used by a host of vehicles and not be left standing around, which also cuts the number of batteries needing disposal.
This means trucks and buses are sold at a price that does not include the cost of the battery. Customers pay only for the usage of the battery and for the energy needed to charge it, with the ability to swop out batteries running out of electricity for those that are fully charged. The proposal is to roll out this programme among all manufacturers in the trucking business to further contain costs.
Hino sees multiple social issues impacting the transport industry and here it says the industry must come up with solutions. These issues include drivers having to work long hours for low wages, and the expansion of e-commerce which contributes to increasing logistics volumes.
Another challenge in many countries is the ageing of drivers together with a declining birthrate and with truck driving not being seen as a worthwhile long-term career. Then there is the matter of safety in terms of road accidents and, in many countries, the safety of drivers from attacks, robbery and hijacking.
The global trucking industry must work together to develop answers for each of these challenges, says Toyoshima. Some of the answers will be improving the working environment and conditions of employment, securing a diverse workforce, and reducing road accidents with greater use of active and passive safety equipment.
Hino is already actively pursuing many of these initiatives with several government and environmental agencies in Japan, as well as being a member of the CJPT (Commercial Japan Partnership) with Isuzu, Toyota, Daihatsu, and Suzuki which aims at solving the challenges faced by the transport industry in Japan and Thailand towards a carbon-neutral society.
This year Hino, Toyota, Daimler Trucks and Mitsubishi Fuso have signed a basic agreement to accelerate CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric) in terms of the transport industry. These four companies are working together to support mobility and contribute to society through technological development and by strengthening business infrastructure.