Hino’s way for­ward

A long-term com­mit­ment to hy­brids is seen as the route to a vi­able fu­ture, writesGRAHAMSMITH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Big Wheels -

HINO has reaf­firmed its com­mit­ment to a hy­brid fu­ture, be­liev­ing the al­ter­na­tive driv­e­line trucks can play a ma­jor role in meet­ing the de­mands for a cleaner en­vi­ron­ment and greater fuel ef­fi­ciency.

The com­pany has demon­strated its com­mit­ment to hy­brid trucks with the lo­cal release of the lat­est Hino 300 Se­ries-based light-duty hy­brid at the Syd­ney Truck Show, and backed it up with the an­nounce­ment that tests on a medium-duty hy­brid truck would be run lo­cally in 2009.

Hino also showed the new 500 Se­ries medium-duty hy­brid truck it plans to eval­u­ate next year at the re­cent Syd­ney show.

Hino Aus­tralia pres­i­dent Jan- suke Ando says the com­pany is fo­cus­ing on hy­brid trucks.

‘‘With the launch of this Hino 300 Hy­brid Hino Aus­tralia is con­firm­ing its long-term com­mit­ment to hy­brids.

‘‘The hy­brid model we have had un­til now was a for­eigner we brought to Aus­tralia to al­low us to com­ply with Aus­tralian De­sign Rules and test mar­ket ac­cep­tance.

‘‘The release of this new hy­brid is a re­sult of that in­ves­ti­ga­tion,’’ Ando says.

Un­like the pre­vi­ous hy­brid truck, the new 300 Se­ries hy­brid Hino is now sell­ing as a full pro­duc­tion model that’s a com­pletely in­te­grated part of the reg­u­lar 300 Se­ries model range.

‘‘Hino is at the fore­front of hy­brid de­vel­op­ment, in its own right and as part of Toy­ota. The cor­po­ra­tion’s com­mit­ment to re­search and de­vel­op­ment is huge. It spends $25 mil­lion per day, ev­ery day of the year, on re­search and de­vel­op­ment and much of that is spent on hy­brids.’’

Ando says the com­pany is firmly com­mit­ted to a clean, green fu­ture and is de­vel­op­ing ve­hi­cles to meet the cru­cial needs of the com­mu­nity go­ing for­ward.

Such is the com­pany’s com­mit­ment to de­vel­op­ing hy­brids that its new pres­i­dent meets with his Ja­panese de­vel­op­ment en­gi­neers ev­ery week to re­view progress.

Ando says Hino has the am­bi­tious goal to re­duce fuel con­sump­tion by 50 per cent and to in­crease the over­all ef­fi­ciency of its diesel trucks by 50 per cent.

In ad­di­tion to its hy­brid truck, Hino is also in­vest­ing in hy­brid buses and re­cently re­leased a new diesel- elec­tric hy­brid tour­ing coach, the Sel­ega, which al­ready meets Ja­panese fuel econ­omy stan­dards for 2015.

Hino Aus­tralia’s suc­cess­ful test­ing of the light-duty hy­brid has given the com­pany’s head of­fice the con­fi­dence to ap­prove the eval­u­a­tion here of the new 500 Se­ries medium-duty truck.

Just as it did when it in­tro­duced the light-duty hy­brid truck Hino will put the new 500 Se­ries medium-duty truck through a rig­or­ous eval­u­a­tion in the hands of a lo­cal op­er­a­tor.

‘‘There is no plan to sell it in Aus­tralia yet, but its pres­ence here is a sign of our com­mit­ment to hy­brids,’’ Hino over­seas plan­ning boss Shinji Ishi says while in Syd­ney for the launch of the new 300 Se­ries Hy­brid.

Given the lo­cal ac­cep­tance of the light-duty hy­brid it seems only a mat­ter of time be­fore its big­ger brother joins it on lo­cal roads.

Go­ing for­ward: the Hino 300 Se­ries hy­brid is now sell­ing as a full pro­duc­tion model.

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