This week in the USA, a new project was unveiled, but what is Hino’s Project Z? The US arm of Hino Trucks announced its development path to zero emissions vehicles (ZEV), including a system sourced from Australia, from SEA Electric, a Melbourne based electric truck maker.
The live virtual event showcased a comprehensive line-up of zero emissions trucks, all the way from light duty-to a heavy duty prime mover. This range of trucks involves Hino USA partnering with three different technology partners supplying three different electric drive systems.
Of interest to Australians is the light duty option from SEA Electric, based on the US equivalent of the 300 Series, known as the Hino M5. There are also two systems built into the uniquely American 600 Series chassis, the only Hino to have a bonnet. The two are fitted into a rigid 4×2 and a lightweight single drive prime mover.
These three models see new electric drive systems fitted into existing models by outside suppliers. The Hino organisation globally does not have electric systems ready to go in these models, and seems to have taken the pragmatic decision to use outside suppliers to enable the Japanese truck maker to meet the rising demand in the US for electric powered vehicles. This demand is especially strong in California, which has set ambitious targets for zero emission vehicles in the years ahead.
The heavy duty option for Hino has caused quite a stir on the US truck scene with this event showcasing a new fuel cell powered upgrade on the existing Hino XL to a genuine long haul heavy duty prime mover. This will be using Toyota’s Fuel Cell system.
The fuel cell powertrain will leverage the newly developed Hino XL chassis with Toyota’s fuel cell technology expanding upon the existing project to develop a 25 tonnes fuel cell powered truck for the Japanese market which was announced earlier this year. The development of this truck has already included a fuel cell powered Kenworth, which has been working in a trial out of the Port of Los Angeles.
“A fuel cell powered version of the Hino XL Series is a win-win for both customers and the community,” said Tak Yokoo, Senior Executive Engineer, Toyota Research and Development. “It will be quiet, smooth and powerful while emitting nothing but water. Toyota’s twenty plus years of fuel cell technology combined with Hino’s heavy-duty truck experience will create an innovative and capable product.”
To complete the answer to the question, what is Hino’s Project Z? The systems unveiled in the 600 Series Hino featured a battery electric 4×2 prime mover with the Hexagon Purus’ full electric drive system. There was also a Hino XL rigid 4×2 powered by Xos Trucks’ X-Pack battery and electric drive system. For the battery electric vehicles, Hino has said it will look at both central drive motors and e-axles.