Yamato Transport Co., Ltd., Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), and Hino Motors, Ltd. have begun trials using a small electric (EV) truck in Yamato delivery operations outside of Tokyo. The trial is expected to run through March 2014.
Developed by Hino, the EV Truck is a one-ton, ultra-low bed truck featuring a cargo space equipped with compartments for keeping delivery goods refrigerated or frozen. The truck was created in line with specifications developed jointly by Yamato, TMC, and Hino to provide "Cool TA-Q-BIN," one of Yamato's delivery services for goods at low or freezing temperatures, according to the companies. The EV Truck, including its refrigerator/freezer, is powered entirely by battery, meaning it generates no emissions during operation and is extremely quiet, making it ideal for delivery services in residential neighborhoods late at night and early in the morning.
During the trial, which will include two EV trucks, the three partners will verify the suitability and practicality of using the EV trucks in delivery operations, and the results will be used to make improvements for the commercial launch of electric trucks.
Yamato has been undertaking a series of environmental initiatives dubbed "Necology" focused on its main distribution business by thoroughly implementing environment-friendly measures in each of its three core business elements: packing, transport and delivery. These measures are designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions under three strategies: 1) reducing use (limiting the number of vehicles), 2) ecological use (introducing low-emission delivery vehicles), and 3) methods of use (encouraging eco-driving, reducing driving distances). Yamato has also been implementing a variety of measures to achieve more efficient delivery operations.
In light of current battery performance, TMC and Hino believe that it is possible to offer practical commercial electric vehicles for lightweight and short-distance applications. By placing a compact electric motor under the cab and adopting front-wheel drive, the batteries could be placed under the bed. The bed floor could then be positioned at a height of just 440 mm above the ground, creating a vehicle with a much lower bed than conventional trucks.