The shift to electrification is beginning to manifest in the logistics sector. This is reflected in the electrification solutions presented by Isuzu at the Japan Mobility Show (formerly Tokyo Motor Show) happening this week in Tokyo, Japan.
In tune with the event’s theme of “Innovation for you – Accelerate the future of transport,” the truck maker demonstrated how shifting to electrified powertrains is not only sustainable but also beneficial in terms of cost and practicality.
The Erga EV is the first BEV flat-floor route bus developed by Isuzu to realize zero carbon emissions. Because it is powered by batteries that can be made compact, the electric bus features a flat and low floor, eliminating the need for steps at the rear of the bus. This creates a fully flat-floor interior, making it an ideal public transport solution for both the handicapped and elderly. In addition, it also delivers smoother acceleration and deceleration, as well as lower vibration and noise levels, maximizing passenger safety and comfort.
Giga Fuel Cell
The Giga Fuel Cell is a hydrogen fuel cell (FC) powered heavy-duty truck, jointly developed by Honda and Isuzu, pooling their respective technologies and expertise since entering a joint research agreement in January 2020. Isuzu provided the GIGA heavy-duty truck, and Honda, the FC system for the Giga’s powertrain. Both companies believe that FC technologies fueled by hydrogen, which produce zero CO2 emissions, are ideal for trucks that are designed to carry heavy loads over long distances and long hours of operation.
Fuel cell vehicles are like battery electric vehicles in that they are powered by electric motors. Where they differ is in the use of hydrogen as a power source instead of storing electricity in batteries. The vehicle passes hydrogen (H2) through a membrane to join with oxygen in the air. The reaction produces water (H2O) in vapor form, but also creates electricity that powers the motors. The hydrogen tank can also be refilled just as quickly as diesel fuel.
The vehicle is currently testing on public roads and Isuzu plans to bring a production model to market in 2027.
Elf (N-series) EV
Easily the brand’s most popular model, the N-series (or Elf) also has a battery electric vehicle version on display at the show. This Elf EV is built on the same platform as an internal combustion engine (ICE) version. As such, the same wide variety of configurations and payloads can still be used. It’s also easy to maintain because of the many shared parts.
While the current Elf EV still uses a permanent battery, Isuzu plans to make this more convenient in the future with its EVision Cycle Concept. This display is an automated battery swapping system where in the Elf EV is fitted with side-mounted swappable battery packs.
When an Elf EV pulls up to the automatic swapping station, the machine disconnects the discharged battery from the truck, puts it into storage and charging, and retrieves a new, fully charged one to connect to the vehicle. The whole process is automated, takes just seven minutes, and reducing the need for a driver or technician to handle the heavy and bulky battery.
The battery-swapping solution is designed to reduce wait times (downtime) for charging and quickly replace depleted batteries with charged ones to continue operations. It also allows multiple trucks to share batteries, serve as energy storage for renewable power, or as backup power in the event of a power failure.
These are just a few of the solutions Isuzu has come up with to achieve carbon neutrality in the logistics sector, further proving the many possibilities of electrification.
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