Hybrid vehicle technology has reached a significant level of maturity in recent years.
The latest Hino Hybrid benefits from a number of changes to the original hybrid drive system which had been used since the first model was launched in Australia in 2007.
The 2020 Hino 300 Series Hybrid features a number of changes to the hardware and operational software system of the parallel electric-diesel hybrid driveline with the intention of improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions, while also reducing weight.
Electricity is stored in the Toyota Group-sourced nickel metal hydride battery, which is similar to what is used in over 15 million hybrid vehicles worldwide. The battery itself has been reduced in size but retains its 6.5 Amp Hour (AH) rating.
The Power Control Unit (PCU) manages the battery, inverter, Engine Control Unit (ECU) and DC-DC Converter and has been redesigned for lighter weight and more compactness, resulting in a weight saving of 28 kgs.
The hybrid system continuously seeks to supplement the delivery of diesel power with electric power and is constantly switching between diesel engine drive only; a combination of both electric motor and diesel engine drive; and can also utilise electric drive only in certain situations.
The Hybrid battery is charged from the regenerative braking system through kinetic energy capture when the vehicle is coasting. This also acts as an effective auxiliary brake and slows the vehicle and results in a significant increase in brake pad life and further reduces whole of life costs of the truck.
The Hino 4.0 litre N04C-WR four cylinder turbo-diesel engine has common rail injection and produces 150hp (110kW).
The electric motor contributes a further 47 hp (35kW) and the maximum 470Nm of torque is delivered in combination with the electric motor from a very low 1,000 rpm.
Euro 6 emissions standards are achieved by the use of a combination of Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), a Diesel Particulate Active Reduction Filter (DPR) system, and the Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system which uses AdBlue stored in the 13 litre tank. Diesel tank capacity is 100 litres in the Standard Cab models and 80 litres in the Wide Cab variants.
Hybrid models are available in four versions from the 616 Standard and Wide Cab car-licenced models, through to the 716 Wide Cab and the 916 Wide Cab, which has a maximum Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of 8.5 tonnes.
The new Hino Hybrid employs a six speed automated manual transmission, up from the five speed used previously and is coupled directly to the electric motor.
The additional gear and the wider ratio spread enables the diesel engine to spend more time in its most efficient rpm range. From the driver’s perspective the hybrid operates exactly as does a regular diesel-powered truck of a similar size.
The AMT noticeably performs its shifts slower than the full automatic in a conventionally powered Hino 616, but power delivery is smooth and it can be left to the electronics to select the correct ratio rather than manually over-riding using the selector lever.
Approximately 600 Hino Hybrids are currently operating in Australia. Suitable applications are varied and include dry van and refrigerated delivery applications such as the test unit provided for our assessment.
Hino Hybrids have also found favour operating in city and regional council vocational applications such as rear loader waste, parks and gardens service, and tippers.
The Hino Hybrid models feature SmartSafe, the same comprehensive suite of safety features found in all new Hino 300 Series vehicles, with advanced driver assistance technology which takes an active role in protecting the life of drivers, passengers and other road users.
SmartSafe incorporates a Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Pedestrian Detection (PD) and Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS).
The SmartSafe system complements Hino’s existing safety package which includes Vehicle Stability Control, dual SRS airbags, four-wheel ABS disc brakes, UN ECE R-29 cab strength certified and a hill start function.
The reversing camera has infrared night vision displayed on the 6.5-inch multimedia unit which is also capable of connecting an additional three cameras and has AM/FM radio, DAB+ digital radio, Bluetooth music streaming and mobile phone connectivity with voice dialling.
The Hino 300 Series Hybrid is the first Japanese-manufactured light truck available in Australia which meets Euro 6 exhaust emission standards. This will add further appeal to fleets wanting to minimise their carbon footprints. Hino claim the new 300 Series Hybrid has shown fuel efficiency improvements of 21 per cent when compared to its diesel-only counterpart.
The latest model can be expected to deliver even better efficiencies due to the changes in the weight and operation of components associated with the hybrid drive as well as from the six speed transmission, all of which contribute to the Hybrid’s whole-of-life financial proposition.