Hino’s brighter spark

A front-drive bat­tery pow­ered courier truck is on trial in Tokyo

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Working Wheels - JAMES STAN­FORD james.stan­ford@carsguide.com.au

A FULLY elec­tric Hino 300 Se­ries truck is work­ing the streets of Tokyo.

The Ja­panese brand is con­duct­ing a trial with two lo­cal de­liv­ery com­pa­nies in the cap­i­tal, run­ning an elec­tric ver­sion of the light duty truck.

Con­fi­dent the tri­als are pro­gress­ing well, Hino was keen to draw at­ten­tion to its green ma­chine at last month’s Tokyo mo­tor show, where it fea­tured a 300 Se­ries wide-cab elec­tric truck on its stand.

Hino is yet to dis­cuss when the elec­tric 300 Se­ries could make it into pro­duc­tion but in­sid­ers sug­gest it is likely to be at least two years away in Ja­pan, a coun­try known for quickly adopt­ing new tech­nol­ogy.

It could take a fur­ther two or three years for the plug-in 300 to make it here.

Hino Aus­tralia al­ready has a diesel-elec­tric 300 Se­ries hy­brid truck. Sales have been mod­est, with pur­chases mostly lim­ited to large com­pa­nies keen on pro­ject­ing a green im­age.

Un­like the hy­brid truck, which uses a nickel-metal hy­dride bat­tery pack, the ful­l­elec­tric Hino uses a more mod­ern lithium ion bat­tery, which is more ex­pen­sive but is able to re­lease more en­ergy more quickly. This means there is enough power to pro­pel the truck with­out an en­gine, in­stead of merely as­sist­ing the en­gine as is the case with the cur­rent hy­brid.

In­ter­est­ingly, the 300 elec­tric pro­to­type is front-drive, un­like pretty much ev­ery other truck in ser­vice.

To keep weight down, the elec­tric mo­tor is mounted in the front and the bat­ter­ies are within the chas­sis rails.

The lack of a reg­u­lar en­gine and drive­shaft means the elec­tric 300’s floor is 420mm closer to the ground than the reg­u­lar rig.

Hino isn’t dis­clos­ing the weight of its pro­to­type truck, but bat­tery packs are known to be heavy, which would limit the truck’s pay­load — it has a max­i­mum weight rat­ing of 3500kg.

Low ride, light pay­load: Hino 300 Elec­tric

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