Hino, Trucks

The Hybrid Option from Hino

The Hybrid Option from Hino

As truck buyers have started to focus on carbon emissions, the hybrid option from Hino has been a success story for the company.

There has been a significant shift in leasing companies understanding of resale value for hybrid electric, which means the total cost of ownership calculation over the four or five years has changed. Add in the fuel saving figures, and the numbers look quite attractive to a business. In 2023 Hino took significant orders for hybrid electric, 400 per cent up on the previous year.

The truck sales mix has changed for Hino in recent years with the proportion of heavier trucks, 500 and 700 Series, growing, when compared to the company’s sales figures in the past.

Interestingly, this is not affected by the fact that Hino restricts its direct large fleet business to around the 10 per cent figure.

“There’s more opportunity in that big, multinational fleet business, but it’s not really what we’re into,” says Richard Emery, Hino President and CEO.

“We’re going to put as much business through from small to medium enterprises into our network. Why? Because there’s more margin at the smaller end of the market, and there’s the aggressive nature of those big fleet deals. It’s just not somewhere we want to play.

“There’s a time and place for it and we do have a couple of key customers. Even if we had lots and lots of extra production capacity, I’m not sure we would do it, just to keep that nice balance in our business. We have a couple of key clients who have been with us for a long time, but we’re not out chasing other ones.”

Image: Prime Creative Media

However, the electric hybrid is an area of growth for the brand and quite often chosen by the larger clients. The target for electric hybrid sales in 2024 is 500, if Hino can get the supply. Toyota’s hybrid business continues to go gangbusters, so getting hybrid componentry from Toyota’s supply chain can be difficult. Australia is Hino’s second biggest hybrid electric market after Japan.

“We think electric hybrid’s time has come,” says Richard. “We also think its window is four or five years, at least, where we think we can take full advantage because it’s the right product at the right time.

“Everyone gets fixated on percentages, but it’s actually how much fuel are you saving and cutting emissions. The bottom line is you’re saving in whatever situation. Now, I will say it’s still a hard sell to some customers, because of the initial cost, which is fair, it’s a reasonable price.

“There is a tunnel vision in the marketplace at the moment, where it’s either this or that and there’s no nuance in between. We’ve got fleets who are saying no, we’ve got to do battery electric. We are saying you could start tomorrow morning with a 20 per cent saving.

“Fleets who are dabbling in battery electric, are tunnel visioned about not considering other options. The Truck Industry Council finds that the government politicians tend to take the attitude of, it’s battery electric or nothing. It’s the only alternative to solve the problem. However, depending on your application, your weight and distance over the next 10 to 15 years, there’ll be a myriad of different drive trains solutions that will vary depending on what you’re using the truck for.

“We’ve got Japan testing battery electric, hydrogen and our hybrid. So we’re playing, we’re investing in all of those things. Each of these will have their time and place, when the stars align for each of those technologies. That’s one of the advantages we have, being part of the Toyota Technology Group, is that they’re continuing to invest in all sorts of different solutions.”


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