Green and bear it

Gov­ern­ment in­cen­tives can ease hy­brid pain, writesGRAHAMSMITH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Big Wheels -

GOV­ERN­MENTS must pro­vide some form of in­cen­tive for truck op­er­a­tors to adopt hy­brid drive. Speak­ing at the launch of Hino’s lat­est hy­brid model, com­pany chair­man John Conomos says gov­ern­ments have to kick-start de­mand for hy­brids by of­fer­ing truck op­er­a­tors in­cen­tives to buy the more ex­pen­sive trucks — just as they did with the LPG re­bate for mo­torists.

The cost of go­ing green with a new 300 Se­ries hy­brid truck is around $12,000 more than a sim­i­lar con­ven­tional diesel, which is a big ask for op­er­a­tors al­ready strug­gling to turn a profit.

While they would make sub­stan­tial sav­ings on their fuel costs in the long term with the hy­brid truck, pay­ing a pre­mium in the form of a higher pur­chase price is prov­ing a ma­jor dis­in­cen­tive for all but the big op­er­a­tors who want to make a vis­i­ble state­ment.

That could change, Conomos says, if gov­ern­ments get be­hind hy­brid trucks and pro­vide buy­ers with in­cen­tives to buy them.

Those in­cen­tives could be in the form of a di­rect re­bate to off­set the pur­chase price up front, a cut in sales tax, or re­duced an­nual regis­tra­tion fees to cut run­ning costs.

Conomos cham­pi­oned hy­brids when he was work­ing for Toy­ota and is now do­ing the same af­ter mov­ing to its truck mak­ing off­shoot, Hino.

Aus­tralia is the first coun­try out­side Ja­pan to sell the new 300 Se­ries hy­brid truck af­ter suc­cess­fully test­ing the pre­vi­ous hy­brid based on the old Dutro light truck.

In those tests, a Dutro hy­brid run by TNT in Syd­ney demon­strated that on an ap­pli­ca­tion in­volv­ing lots of stop-start driv­ing it could save 20 or more per cent fuel, which means less CO2 green­house gas is be­ing emit­ted into the at­mos­phere and cut NOx and par­tic­u­late mat­ter.

Hino’s in-house test­ing sug­gests fuel sav­ings and re­duc­tion in green­house gas emis­sions, are closer to 30 per cent than TNT’s fig­ure.

While Hino’s sys­tem em­ploys a com­bi­na­tion of a diesel en­gine and an elec­tric mo­tor, the sys­tem could work equally well with an en­gine run­ning on LPG, CNG, or even a hy­dro­gen fuel cell in the fu­ture, mak­ing it even cleaner.

‘‘Hy­brid is the most im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try since the in­tro­duc­tion of the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine. It will de­ter­mine the path of car and truck tech­nol­ogy well into the 21st cen­tury re­gard­less of the fuel that is used,’’ Conomos says.

While the cur­rent hy­brids use ei­ther a petrol en­gine or a diesel for their pri­mary power source, the hy­brid sys­tem can and will work just as ef­fec­tively with vir­tu­ally any other power source.

‘‘Hy­brid driv­e­train is all en­com­pass­ing, it doesn’t re­fer only to petrol-elec­tric or petrol-diesel. It is ca­pa­ble of be­ing in­cor­po­rated with any fuel source,’’ he says.

Hino has been work­ing on hy­brids for more than 20 years and leads the world in the tech­nol­ogy.

It will lead the way go­ing for­ward, but gov­ern­ments need to play their part in help­ing the mar­ket take it up.

‘‘If gov­ern­ments don’t em­brace hy­brid tech­nol­ogy and ef­fec­tively en­cour­age it, the trans­port in­dus­try and those who rely on it are in risk of fall­ing way be­hind and per­haps los­ing valu­able op­por­tu­ni­ties,’’ he says.

Conomos adds while the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment de­serves credit for its sup­port of hy­brid tech­nol­ogy with grants to Toy­ota for the de­vel­op­ment and roll­out of the sys­tem in passenger cars here, it mustn’t end there.

There must be in­cen­tives for the pub­lic and in­dus­try to em­brace the tech­nol­ogy, he says.

Green team: (left to right) Hino Aus­tralia’s CEO Steve Lot­ter, chair­man John Conomos and pres­i­dent Jun­suke Ando with the green Hino hy­brid truck at the com­ple­tion of the 24-hour Hino Hy­brid Marathon.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.