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HINO’S FLATFORMER CONCEPT CHASSIS WAS A REAL HEAD-TURNER AT TOKYO MOTOR SHOW
20 Nov 2019
Hino South Africa
Hino South Africa
Hino Motors, the largest truck, and bus manufacturer in Japan and the sixth biggest in the world, stunned visitors to the heavy commercial vehicle section of the 46th Tokyo Motor Show between October 24 and November 4. The head-turning display was the FlatFormer concept, a sleek, low-slung, battery-powered light truck chassis on which a variety of body types can be fitted.
This vehicle was very much in line with Hino’s slogan for the show of “Transporting every Happiness” in that it embodied the company’s desire to make everyone in the world happy who is involved in transporting people, goods, and services in a sustainable manner.
Hino believes its FlatFormer will change the concept of mobility in the commercial vehicle world forever by bringing greater efficiency to the movement of people and goods. It will also evolve mobility into a space where it assists in providing super versatile services to enhance the lives of communities and individuals.
The FlatFormer light truck chassis is a 6x6 with each wheel having its own electric motor. The motor, brakes, steering, and suspension all fit inside the wheel housings to ensure a flat surface for the chassis. This novel, electric, modular corner technology was developed by Hino in conjunction with international consultants REE. The FlatFormer has 170kW of electric power available with a lithium-ion battery capacity of 50kWh.
Hino also had a diesel-electric hybrid 700 Series 8x4 rigid on its stand which uses advanced GPS, onboard sensors, and 3D map information to predict road conditions – including gradients – up to 100km away. These systems work with Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide optimal control of the hybrid powertrain which will reduce the environmental footprint by minimizing electric power consumption and maximizing fuel economy with the diesel engine.
Among the other displays on the Hino stand was an Emergency Driving Stop System (EDSS) which detects problems the driver may encounter, such as a heart attack. and assists in stopping the vehicle safely. When a problem is detected the vehicle turns off the road and stops. A simulator allowed visitors to the Hino display to experience this for themselves. Hino sees this latest safety technology as another contributor to cutting road traffic casualties.
There was even a Hino Kids’ Corner Future Mobility Lab, where children were encouraged to use building blocks to create their versions of future mobility. They could then take a photograph of their creation and enter a competition.
Although the major focus on the Hino stand was looking to the future, there was also a link with the company’s past in the form of a 1964 Hino Contessa passenger car which was the first domestic car designed, engineered and manufactured by Hino when it made both cars and trucks. It is thus an important aspect of Hino’s history which stretches back more than a hundred years.