Managing Industry Transition

The pathway to a greener truck fleet in Australia is underway. In reality, the revolution so many have predicted is more likely to be an evolution.
Hino Hybrid 300 Series.

It has been an interesting business environment, and time, to join Hino.

Although, it is my first role working directly in the truck industry, the fundamentals of success are the same as in other parts of the automotive business; customer relationships, good product and positive outcomes for our dealer partners.

Omnipresent has certainly been the supply and demand balance that is currently at play and the challenge that has created for us, and our dealers, in communicating delivery timelines.

I suspect the current pressures will remain through the remainder of 2023 and into 2024. Aside from that very short-term task, I’m enthusiastic about working with our customers on the transition required, and opportunity, to reduce CO2 within our industry.

The fact is that the demand for road freight in Australia will continue to climb through the next decade — putting further pressure on the efficiency levels and CO2 performance.

It is an area that I was at the forefront of as the CEO of Nissan during the beginnings of the passenger vehicle shift, and I can see the leading role that Hino will play in this transition on trucks.

Importantly, Hino has always been on the front foot when it comes to innovation around safety, reliability, and quality.

Now, we are uniquely positioned to step up to the plate on a greening of the truck fleet. This is especially so in the light-duty segment where most of the volume is. And it will be a transition that will take time, and to be honest, longer than many stakeholders care to admit.

But we can start now and there are a range of ways to accelerate this transition. There is a real danger of being fixated on one solution.

We can take steps now to make real gains on emission levels by driving down the age of our vehicle fleet and encourage operators to upgrade to newer, safer and more efficient trucks without the fears around range limitations and charging infrastructure, let alone the high purchase price of EVs.

While the future may well be electric and/or hydrogen, it is exactly that, the future — currently, Australia doesn’t have sufficient infrastructure or policies in place to implement a wide-spread, significant transition to such vehicles. It will happen, and the OEMs are on the journey to enable this.

At Hino, as part of the Toyota Group, we have access to the world’s largest R&D budget to help us develop solutions as part of this transition.

The question remains, what can we do now to reduce CO2 emissions within the truck fleet? As I have said, a younger fleet can help, as can the limited adoption of EVs.

We believe strongly that a stepping-stone is our Hino 300 Series Hybrid Electric light-duty range — it is a strong solution for many fleets, and one that will reduce a fleet’s CO2 emissions from day one with no range limitation or recharging requirements.

Hino has led the way with low-emission trucks for over 15 years. Our Hybrid Electric range is driven by Toyota Group technology that is proven in nearly 20 million hybrid vehicles worldwide.

Compared to an equivalent diesel truck, a 300 Series Hybrid Electric significantly reduces customers’ fuel costs. Real-world trials comparing the proven Hino Hybrid Electric truck against a traditional diesel equivalent revealed a 22 per cent reduction in fuel use and CO2 emissions.

Greater savings are achievable depending on the application of the vehicle and how it is driven. We’ve also seen a reduction in yearly maintenance costs approaching 16 per cent.

The CO2 savings are substantial too: approximately 4 tonnes per year and 21 tonnes over a typical 5-year operational period.

We’ve certainly under-played our hand on this product to now, but that will change in 2023. You’ll see a concerted effort from Hino to present this truck as the viable solution for today.

In fact, it remains the only Hybrid Electric truck in the Australian market and its time has come. We are expanding our Hybrid Electric product range to include Built to Go products and have increased our production order from Japan.

Higher fuel prices, increasing operational costs and a desire for a greener fleet have conspired favourably towards our Hybrid Electric and we are looking forward to working with our customers to show them a pathway to emission reductions and costs savings from day one, with a 300 Series Hybrid Electric vehicle on their fleet.

The next decade will be a fascinating and exciting period for our industry, with growth and innovation as we seek a greener fleet.

The reality is, it will be an evolution rather than the revolution that many are predicting. I’m looking forward to this time immensely and know that at Hino, we’ll be playing an important and integral role in the industry’s future — as we always have.

Richard Emery, Hino Australia, Vice President Brand & Franchise Development.

About the author:

A highly experienced sales, marketing and business development professional, Richard Emery has over 35 years of automotive industry experience in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, including Sales Director at Mercedes Benz and more recently as CEO and Managing Director of Nissan Australia. He started his role as the Vice President of Brand & Franchise Development for Hino Australia in early 2022.

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