Carbon neutrality. Driver comfort. Safety. Connectivity.
The market leader in Australia for the last 34 years gave its legion of fans a taste of what’s to come Down Under with those four dominant themes front and centre on the Isuzu stand at the Japan Mobility Show in Tokyo.
From a zero-emission perspective, the heavy-duty Giga Fuel Cell, a joint project with Honda, attracted the most attention from truck fans at the massive event – formerly known as the Tokyo Motor Show – that runs from October 28 to November 5.
Since 2020, both Isuzu and Honda have strongly backed hydrogen fuel cell (FC) technology as the ideal solution for heavier loads over longer distances. With production models slated for 2027, the pace of FC as a genuine heavy-duty solution has definitely gathered pace in recent years.
“I’m seeing that our federal and state governments are picking hydrogen almost as the default winner as the diesel alternative for long-distance transport,” Isuzu Australia’s chief engineer Simon Humphries told Big Rigs in Tokyo.
“Although it’s still long-term, the environment seems to be right to build up [hydrogen] infrastructure.
“In the meetings we had earlier in the week, we put our hand up to say when the Giga Fuel Cell pipeline is ready to put into an Australian spec truck, we’ll happily evaluate it in Australia.
“We certainly think that it’ll be relevant to Australia. But obviously we’d have to have enough hydrogen stations to make it worthwhile and that could be three or four years away, could be a bit longer.”
Of key interest for the Australian market at the biennial show – the first since 2019 due to Covid – was the N Series EV, or as it is known in Japan the ELF EV.
The N Series EV is Isuzu’s first mass-produced Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), with variations of the stand example set to join the lineup in conjunction with the other light-duty diesel powered N-Series models in Australia during the imminent full model change.
Isuzu’s introductory zero emissions vehicle, the N Series EV is poised to be made available in a range of model variations and numerous configurations to help meet customer demand.
Additionally there was a world-first reveal of the e-Vision Cycle Concept, showcasing the potential for a fast-turnaround battery-swap system.
Another model being closely watched by the Australian market, the Quon GW 6×4 is already on sale in Japan under the Isuzu EXY classification and is touted to combine efficiency and power for heavy hauling applications.
Powered by one of the world’s leading engine manufacturers and sporting the next-generation 12-speed electronically controlled ESCOT-VII automatic transmission, it’s little wonder the Quon GW had the sharp eyes of many punters on it at this years’ exhibition.
UD is now owned by Isuzu and shared the same stand in Tokyo, although it is currently distributed in Australia by Volvo.
“Having boots on the ground here Tokyo, it’s hard not to get swept up in the concept that this really is a critical juncture in our industry’s history,” added Isuzu Australia’s director and chief operating officer Andrew Harbison.
“It’s a fantastic time to be involved in the transport industry and it does feel as though we’re on the cusp of seismic change in the way we think about and approach transport and mobility, especially from a product perspective.”
An overarching theme of the Isuzu/UD Trucks showcase in Tokyo is the Isuzu Group’s long-term goal to create environmentally responsible transport that can drive both economic growth as well as positive environmental outcomes.
“This broader push from our parent company is of course well underway and as we saw in Tokyo, an unapologetically holistic approach to technological development is being pursued,” noted Harbison.
A significant part of this approach is the Isuzu Modular Architecture and Component Standard (I-MACS) – a new approach to product development that allows the combination of various components, parts and devices to be applied in light of future tech advancement and the expansion of vehicle types.
Breaking with the convention of developing model-specific parts, I-MACS has been able to realise an all-new Isuzu line-up that meets the diverse needs of customers around the world, now and into the future.
For more from this year’s show – and news of when the new N- and F-series will land on our shores – make sure you grab your free copy of the November 10 issue of Big Rigs from your usual outlet, or download a free digital edition at bigrigs.com.au from the same day.