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Japanese Accelerate Development of Hybrid Trucks

Asahi Shimbun. Japanese truck makers are accelerating their rollouts of hybrid models, especially diesel hybrids.

Toyota’s Hino (earlier post) is currently the market leader in Japan. Domestic sales of hybrid trucks and buses surged 14-fold in 2004 from a year earlier, due largely to the brisk sales of Hino's Dutro Hybrid light truck, released in November 2003.

Hino sold 1,039 Dutro Hybrids in 2004, accounting for nearly 7% percent of Hino's 15,378 light truck sales.

Developed jointly with Toyota, the Dutro hybrid delivers a 30% improvement in fuel consumption and cuts CO2 emissions by 25% compared with conventional models.

Earlier this year, Hino released a new version of its diesel parallel hybrid bus in Japan. The new system improves fuel consumption by 10%–20% and reduces CO2 emissions by 9%–17% over conventional diesel buses.


Isuzu Motors, Japan’s top seller of trucks and buses in 2004 excluding 660cc minivehicles, is due to release a lightweight diesel hybrid ELF-series truck this spring. (Diagram at right.)

The ELF hybrid uses Isuzu’s own hybrid system. GM, which partners with Isuzu on diesels, owns a stake in the company.  I would expect there to be some negotiation over adopting the GM hybrid system for Isuzu’s line in the future.

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corp., the No. 2 player in 2004, plans to release a similar vehicle by year-end. Mitsubishi Fuso introduced a diesel series hybrid bus last year.


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