Hino Motors Manufacturing, Japan’s leading domestic manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses, and a subsidiary of Toyota (which owns 50.1% of Hino) has begun its first truck manufacturing in North America. Although Hino trucks are currently sold here, they have until now been imported from Japan.
The trucks are being assembled in Long Beach at a Toyota facility. This is the first new vehicle assembly business to come into the state of California since New United Motor Manufacturing (NUMMI) began production in Fremont in 1984.
Hino has a history of producing diesel hybrid trucks, starting with the world’s first hybrid diesel-electric system, the Hybrid Inverter-controlled Motor & Retarder (HIMR), in 1989. The company has also produced a hydrogen fuel cell bus (in 2002) with Toyota.
Launched in June, the 4-ton Hino Ranger Diesel Hybrid is the newest member of Hino’s hybrid truck line-up. The Hino Ranger Hybrid truck is a mild diesel hybrid that delivers 20% better fuel economy than conventional diesel models and reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 17%. The truck also reduces NOx emissions by more than 50% and PM by 85% against the Japanese 2003 New Short-Term Emission Regulations and meet targets set out in the 2005 New Long-Term Emission Regulations.
The Hino Hybrid system (below, right) is an updated version of the HIMR, and combines an inline 4-cylinder, 4.7-liter diesel (132 kW / 177 hp) with a 23 kW (31 hp) electric motor/generator and a 274V Nickel-Hydrogen battery. The system features regenerative braking to recharge the battery and stop-start functionality. The electric motor assists the engine whenever high torque is needed, such as during startup and acceleration. All power during regular cruising is supplied by the engine.
Hino’s clean diesel system uses a next-generation common-rail fuel injection system, a cool EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) and variable nozzle turbocharger, and a post-processing unit DPR (Diesel Particulate active Reduction) cleaner with a PM collection rate of 95%, which work in concert to burn the collected PM.
Hino’s DPR system can reduce PM emissions in a stable manner even at low exhaust temperatures, such as when driving in a congested thoroughfare.
(I’ll do a summary of diesel emissions reductions technologies in an upcoming post...)
Hino is developing a more advanced full-hybrid system, and claims that the new hybrid system will deliver 1.8 times the fuel efficiency of conventional diesels.
At the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, Hino will display 12 vehicles, 6 of which are hybrids. Hino’s current diesel hybrids are already available in North America—at the Tokyo show, Hino will unveil a new hybrid truck targeted specifically at the US market.
Hino has a good, green opportunity in the North American market. The combination of tightening diesel emissions standards plus the rapidly rising cost of diesel are going to make fleet buyers ever more open to solutions that address both. Hino can benefit from the momentum of Toyota and Hino’s own relatively long history of diesel-hybrid work.