Japanese Heavyweights Start Lightweight EV Truck Trials

Commercial truck makers Hino Motors and Yamato Transports have teamed up with Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, to start testing a small commercial truck concept for their homeland.

The EV truck is an experimental one-ton commercial vehicle that runs on pure electricity. The three companies jointly developed the EV to support part of Yamato’s “Cool TA-Q-BIN” service, or door-to-door delivery service. More specifically, the EV truck will be used to deliver refrigerated and frozen goods for the company.

Hino Toyota Yamato trial EV trucks

Image via Hino

Each company differs in how it is contributing to the project. Hino first displayed an electric truck concept back at 2011 at the Tokyo Motor Show. This concept utilized an extremely low truck bed so people could literally step into the back instead of climbing up into it like most commercial trucks. In order to accommodate design, Hino relocated the drivetrain to the front wheels and placed the electric motors under the truck’s cab. Yamato became interested because it is in the midst of implementing environmentally friendly initiatives for its transport fleet.

Called “necology,” many of these initiatives include reducing the number of vehicles in services; the use of more alternative fuel sources; and the development of new driving habits and techniques (i.e., reduce emissions by taking shorter routes, for example). This is very similar to policies implemented by American courier service Fedex. Toyota, which has its own commercial vehicles, will be contributing its own expertise in electrified vehicles.

The three companies will begin trials of the EV truck starting this month. Yamato especially sees the trucks useful in delivering goods in residential areas. The EV truck is extremely quiet so there’s little chance it will disturb residences during the early morning or late evening. The plan is to run trials for a year, and the vehicles will conduct their runs in Tokyo in areas of the Itabashi Ward and part of Machida city.

Joel Arellano is a writing professional for over two decades, working in such diverse industries as finance, aerospace, telecomm, and medical devices. He has covered the automotive industry for more than six years, and his articles and blog posts can found on at Autoblog, Autoblog Green, Automotive.com, motortrend.com, trucktrend.com, and automobilemag.com.