Japanese automakers Isuzu, Hino and Toyota intend to increase their electric bus offerings to help reduce vehicle costs and to increase the implementation of sustainable vehicles.
Isuzu and Hino will begin production of battery electric flat-floor route buses in 2024. All three companies will then begin to study the planning and development of new fuel cell electric buses based on the battery electric models currently being produced.
The effort is part of their CASE technologies efforts, which stands for connected, automated, shared and electric, and is in collaboration with Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies.
The battery electric flat-floor bus will be produced at the Isuzu-Hino joint venture J-Bus and developed by Isuzu. Its powertrain will result in zero carbon emissions during the vehicle’s use, the companies say. Isuzu and Hino have collaborated on bus development since 2002.
The fuel cell electric bus will use Toyota’s fuel cell system found in the Mirai and the SORA hydrogen fuel cell bus, which has been offered since 2018. The companies say by sharing the components between battery electric and fuel cell technology they hope to reduce costs by adopting fuel cell stacks as well as produce electric vehicles that have longer operation lives.
The electric bus market is expected to grow by 11% a year through 2027, according to Global Market Insights. The cost of batteries has fallen significantly since 2015, which has also helped increase the market. More government incentives are also playing a role, such as $174 billion of the recent US infrastructure bill going toward electric vehicles.
Additionally, Toyota has been a significant player in making energy efficient vehicles. The company is seen as a top company in the hydrogen fuel cell market, which is expected to grow to nearly $29 billion by 2028, according to Valuates Reports.
The automaker is also investing $13.6 billion in batteries and battery production through 2030.
The Commercial Japan Partnership is a joint venture started by the Toyota, Isuzu and Hino last year. Suzuki and Daihatsu have since joined the collaborative, according to electrive.com.