TOKYO. Preparing for its first-ever global vehicle launch outside of Japan, Hino Motors offered an advanced look at an all-new Class 4/5 COE to a group of North American journalists visiting its Hamura light truck plant. Set to be officially introduced next month in the U.S. and Canada, the new light duty also launches a new generation of the company’s diesel-electric hybrid system.
The COE joins a medium-duty Class 6/7 conventional currently sold by Hino Motors Sales U.S.A. It also marks the reentry to the American COE market for the company, which it previously had exited in 2004. Unlike the previous COE, which used a domestic Japanese cab and chassis, the new truck features a wider cab and a North American standard 33-in. width chassis. The cab’s styling emphasizes aerodynamics and visibility with an angled windshield, narrow pillars and rounded-radius curves. Inside, the new cab uses its increased width to provide room for drivers up to 6 ft. 6 in., seating for three, and a wide variety of storage options. A crew cab version will also be available.
Hino’s J05 5L 4-cylinder diesel is used in both the diesel and hybrid models, producing 210 hp. and a maximum torque of 441 lbs.-ft. It uses selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and a diesel particulate filter (DPF) to meet current U.S. emissions requirements. A 6-spd. Aisin automatic transmission is standard for both models.
The new hybrid is the third generation of a system first introduced in a commercial vehicle by Hino in 1991. A parallel design that places an electric motor/generator between the engine and transmission, the new version uses a “hybrid adaptive control system” to blend diesel and electric power to keep the engine operating in its “sweet spot,” according to a Hino Motors spokesperson.
The new generation also automatically shuts down the diesel at a full stop, restarting it when the brake is released for increased fuel economy. A dash-mounted switch allows drivers to select between normal and “eco-mode” operating characteristics. The batteries used to store electric power captured by the system on braking are NiMH with an anticipated life of eight to 10 years, according to the company. The batteries, electric motor and other hybrid components add 440 lbs. to the truck’s curb weight.
Tested in two EPA urban driving cycles, the hybrid reduced fuel consumption up to 37% compared to a standard diesel engine. The final price premium for the system has not yet been finalized.
The 15,000-lb. GVW Class 4 version will be called the 155 Model in the U.S., and the 19,000-lb. GVW Class 5 version the 195 Model. Wheelbases will range from 114 to 215 in. for the diesel version and 132 to 215 in. for the hybrid. U.S. Hino dealers will begin taking orders for the diesel in July for delivery in August. The hybrid will have a limited release in select U.S. markets before the end of the year, according to the company.