Daihatsu has been working on fuel cell, electric and hybrid vehicles for a number of years, more recently working in partnership with Toyota (51% owner) and Hino (manufacturer of diesel trucks and buses).
The company unveiled a hybrid concept version of its Atrai 4-seater minivan at the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show. The Hijet Cargo mild Hybrid referenced in the post below and shown at right appeared as a concept at the 2002 Tokyo Motor Show, and has been in road tests since.
As specified then, the Hijet Cargo Hybrid is based on the TOPAZ ULEV 659cc, inline 3-cylinder gasoline engine with electronically controlled fuel injection, DVVT (dynamic variable valve timing), and electronic throttle control. This 43kW (58 hp) engine is combined with an ultra-thin 9.6kW electric motor and a 216V nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery to create the Daihatsu Mild Hybrid System (DMHS). (Illustrated at right.) The DMHS integration, controls and electronics are based on Toyota’s hybrid technology.
(As an aside, Toyota sells a mild-hybrid version of its Crown sedan.)
The Hijet mild-hybrid uses regenerative braking, and provides stop-start functionality and electric motor drive assist during acceleration. The hybrid delivers 30% improved fuel efficiency against the non-hybrid version, and reduces emissions 75% below Japan’s year 2000 standards with the use of Daihatsu’s proprietary high-performance catalytic converter.
More sales and production details will emerge at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show.