Hino Motors Manufacturing, a leading Japanese domestic manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses, and a subsidiary of Toyota (which owns 50.1 percent of Hino) has launched its first North American truck manufacturing operation, according to the Green Car Congress. Although currently sold in the U.S., Hino trucks have been imported from Japan. The trucks are assembled at a Toyota facility in Long Beach. The facility the first new-vehicle assembly plant in California since New United Motor Manufacturing began production in Fremont in 1984.Hino has a history of producing diesel hybrid trucks, starting with the world’s first hybrid diesel-electric system, the Hybrid Inverter-controlled Motor and Retarder (HIMR) in 1989. The company has also produced a hydrogen fuel cell bus (in 2002) with Toyota.Launched in June, the 4-ton Hino Ranger Diesel Hybrid is the newest member of Hino’s hybrid truck lineup. The Hino Ranger Hybrid truck is a mild-diesel hybrid that delivers 20 percent better fuel economy than conventional diesel models and reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 17 percent. The truck also reduces NOx emissions by more than 50 percent and particulate matter (PM) by 85 percent against the Japanese 2003 New Short-Term Emission Regulations and meet targets set out in the 2005 New Long-Term Emission Regulations.The Hino Hybrid system is an updated version of the HIMR and combines an inline 4-cylinder, 4.7-liter diesel (132 kW / 177 hp) with a 23 kW (31 hp) electric motor/generator and a 274V Nickel-Hydride battery. The system features regenerative braking to recharge the battery and stop-start functionality. The electric motor assists the engine whenever high torque is needed, such as during startup and acceleration. All power during regular cruising is supplied by the engine.Hino’s clean-diesel system uses a next-generation common-rail fuel injection system, a cool Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and variable nozzle turbocharger, and a post-processing unit Diesel Particulate active Reduction (DPR) cleaner with a PM collection rate of 95 percent, which work in concert to burn the collected PM. Hino’s DPR system can reduce PM emissions in a stable manner even at low exhaust temperatures, such as when driving in a congested thoroughfare. Hino is developing a more advanced full-hybrid system, and claims that the new hybrid system will deliver 1.8 times the fuel efficiency of conventional diesels.At the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, Hino will display 12 vehicles, including six hybrids. Hino’s current diesel hybrids are already available in North America. At the Tokyo show, Hino will unveil a new hybrid truck targeted specifically at the US market.