Hino Trucks in  America  has announced its path to zero emission trucks with what the Toyota owned truck maker has titled Project Z, with a range of truck solutions that range from  the light duty or US class 4 trucks through to heavy duty US class 8 prime movers.

The American subsidiary of the company hosted a virtual showcase early on line on Tuesday morning Australian time  revealing a line-up of zero emissions trucks and partnerships with technology leaders in advanced electrification drive systems, including the Australian company SEA Electric and its giant parent Toyota.

The new Hino zero  emission vehicles includes a class 5 (medium duty) using an SEA Electric SEA-Drive120a on a Hino chassis, up to a bonneted Hino XL Series class 8 (heavy duty) prime mover using Toyota’s Fuel Cell system.

Truck and Bus News  understands that the  use of the SEA Electric driveline in the light duty truck has come about  as a result  of a collaboration with Hino in Australia which we understand will see a local announcement about Hino SEA electric trucks being launched here in the next few weeks.

Truck and Bus News can report that when questioned about the Hino-SEA electric truck in Australia, the company’s Australian general manager of brand and network development , Bill Gillespie said there was no comment available at this stage.

During the Facebo0ok live event from Hino America, the president of SEA Electric, Tony Fairweather, who is an Australian, revealed  that  the company is working with Hino Australia and also  said tribute to Hino Australia’s current CEO, Sam Suda  for ‘being a visionary’ in opening up the collaboration with SEA Electric that has led to the company’s supply of  the driveline for the American Project Z roll out.

The Hino ZE line-up  in America also features a battery electric class 7 prime mover with what Hino describes as a ‘Hexagon Purus’ full electric drive system’, as well as a Hino XL Series class 8 rigid pantech powered by XosTrucks’ X-Pack battery and electric drive system.  For the battery electric vehicles, Hino will look to use both central drive motors and e-axles it says.

“Our holistic approach to working with technology leaders like Toyota, Hexagon Purus and Xos will result ina sustainable, low cost product line up that will meet the needs of our customers as our industry movesforward to zero emission vehicles,” said Hino Trucks America, said senior vice president of customer experience, Glenn Ellis.

“For customers ready to move in that direction now, the SEA Electric SEA-Drive 120a paired with a Hinomedium duty chassis is commercially available today,”.

The company says its Project Z advances its environmental leadership position, which it points out was first established in 1991 with the global sale of its hybrid buses.

Hino America says the Project Z roll out will consist of demonstration vehicles in the first half of 2021, customer demonstrations in 2022, and production ahead of 2024.

Significantly, Hino and Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) have also agreed to jointly develop the  Class 8 heavy duty fuel cell electric truck (FCET) specifically for the North American market. No indication was given of whether this truck could in the future find its way to Australia, although there has been some past rumours that Hino Australia was looking at the possibility  of bringing the bonneted, American built conventional 800 Series trucks down under.

Truck and Bus News can also reveal that there were plans being put in place for a CKD assembly operation for the 800 series in Australia as far back as 2004, in order to convert the American truck for local conditions and right-hand drive. However this faded with a change of management and was taken off the table. In recent times however new rumours have circulated about adding the American trucks to our market in limited numbers.

In America Hino and Toyota say they will leverage the newly developed Hino XL Series chassis with Toyota’s proven ‘Mirai’ fuel cell technology to deliver ‘exceptional capability’, without harmful emissions.  The companies say that the collaboration expands upon the ‘existing effort to develop a 22tonne Fuel Cell Electric rigid truck for the Japanese market, which was announced earlier this year.

“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,Toyota Research and Development.

“Toyota’s twenty plus years of fuel cell technology combined with Hino’s heavy-duty truck experience will create an innovative and capable product,” he added.

“Expanding upon our proud heritage of the Hino powertrain, Toyota Fuel Cell Technology offers our customers a commercially viable, extended range, zero emissions vehicle in the near term,” said Glenn Ellis.

“Hino shares a common focus with Toyota when it comes to durability, reliability, and innovation with thecustomer at the center of design which makes this collaboration a game changer,” Ellis added.