Hino Trucks executives traveled to California this week to officially launch Project Z, the OEM’s path to medium- and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles (ZEV).
“We're developing the biggest breadth of zero-emission vehicles in the industry. We'll have Class 4 through 8 zero-emission vehicles,” Glenn Ellis, Hino’s senior vice president of customer experience, said during a live virtual event broadcast from Long Beach on Oct. 5.
The truck maker showed off battery-electric and fuel cell technology it is developing into its line of vehicles through partnerships with other companies. Hino and Toyota Motor North America are jointly developing a Class 8 fuel cell electric truck (FCET) for the North American market. Hino is part of the Toyota Group Co.
“A fuel cell-powered version of the Hino XL Series is a win-win for both customers and the community. It will be quiet, smooth and powerful while emitting nothing but water,” said Tak Yokoo, senior executive engineer with Toyota research and development, during the virtual event. “Toyota’s 20-plus years of fuel-cell technology combined with Hino’s heavy-duty truck experience will create an innovative and capable product.”
The companies are using the new Hino XL Series chassis with Toyota’s fuel-cell technology. The Japanese automaker has previously teamed up with Kenworth for Class 8 ZEVs. This collaboration expands upon the existing effort to develop a 25-ton FCET for the Japanese market, which was announced earlier this year.
“We know that the zero-emission industry is really developing — and it is coming on quickly,” Ellis said during the event. “We’re going to be ready for it.”
Other ZE trucks that Hino showed off included a Class 5 Hino M5 chassis featuring a SEA Electric SEA-Drive 120a; a battery-electric Class 7 tractor with Hexagon Purus’ full electric drive system; and a Hino XL Series Class 8 box truck powered by Xos Trucks’ X-Pack battery and electric drive system. For the battery-electric vehicles, Hino will look at both central drive motors and e-axles.
The Hino M5 is currently being tested on both the East and West Coasts, according to Tony Fairweather, president of SEA Electric. He said his company’s battery system could provide driving ranges of 150 to 240 miles depending on the loads.
Jose Castaneda, vice president of business development for Xos Trucks, showed off a Hino XL box truck powered by the technology company’s X-pack battery and drive system, which can travel up to 250 miles on a single charge and has the potential to “pull 80,000 lbs. on a fully electric application.” The system uses a series of batteries — 10 on the demonstration vehicle shown off by Hino — that can be customized based on the truck’s size and hauling needs.
“Our holistic approach to working with technology leaders like Toyota, Hexagon Purus, and Xos will result in a sustainable, low-cost product lineup that will meet the needs of our customers as our industry moves forward to zero-emission vehicles,” Ellis said. “For customers ready to move in that direction now, the SEA Electric SEA-Drive 120a paired with a Hino M Series chassis is commercially available today.”
According to Hino, the other Project Z vehicle prototypes will be produced as demonstration vehicles during the first half of 2021. Some customers will get demonstration vehicles in 2022, and production of the ZEVs is planned for “prior to 2024,” according to the OEM, which promised more details about the truck technologies in the coming months.