It seems like for the trucking industry in 2020, everyone is working together with everyone else. Earlier was an article about partnerships in the development of autonomous trucking, and now there is more news in the sphere of green fuels: Traton SE and Hino Motors Limited have signed an agreement to work on battery-electric and fuel-cell commercial vehicles in tandem.
The Two Companies
Traton is owned by Volkswagen Group. Hino is owned by Toyota. In a way, this project combines the manufacturing prowess of both Germany and Japan.
Traton and Hino both already have their own networks of partnerships already established. Traton was working closely with Navistar for a long time, and has recently agreed to purchase them for slightly above market value of all company shares, totalling to just shy of $4 billion. Hino, in contrast, is owned in part by Toyota and is working with them on translating technology from common four-wheel cars into larger, heavier commercial vehicles.
While Traton was primarily focusing on electricity, Hino was focused on hydrogen fuel cells, where the primary waste product generated from driving the truck is water. Both companies believe that both forms of fuel are needed for the future of the trucking industry, to replace diesel.
The strategic partnership is another step in Traton’s and Hino’s relationship with one another. In 2018 the two companies agreed to cooperate in the future should any opportunity arise (an agreement to agree, if you will), and in 2019 the two established a procurement partnership that would help fulfill the purchasing needs of both companies.
Both companies were satisfied with the terms of their newest arrangement. Starting with Matthias Gründler, Traton CEO, “Traton’s mission is to carefully balance the interests of people, planet, and performance. This new joint venture with our strong partner Hino is the next important step in electrification, pushing our mission further ahead.” The CEO of Hino, Yoshio Shimo, shared similar sentiments. “I am delighted that we can follow our procurement joint venture and further embodying our synergy with Traton in e-mobility, helping to reduce global CO2 emissions and fighting global warming. We will combine our strengths as leading commercial vehicle manufacturers to offer EVs with the highest value for customers, through joint planning of commercial EVs.”
For the end user, one strong benefit of this partnership will be that the resulting trucks from both companies will share similar interfaces, meaning that drivers can switch between trucks as they wish, while spending less time understanding components such as the radio and GPS, and more time focusing on the road ahead of them.
Currently, this partnership does not have a set timeline. We do not know when the plans for electric or fuel cell commercial vehicles under this deal will be available. Hino already has plans for a fuel cell vehicle, made with help from Toyota, to be sold in the US markets by the start of 2022. Traton, in contrast, has its hands in all different types of research and development.
As usual, only time will tell what will become of this new step in Traton and Hino’s various agreements. At the very least, things seem to be working out very well for the two of them so far.