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Isuzu EVision Cycle concept at TMS

Battery-swap truck takes to Isuzu stand in Tokyo, EVision Cycle concept part of strong presence

30 Oct 2023

ISUZU Australia Limited (IAL) has been getting up close and personal with a range of future Isuzu and UD models at this week’s Tokyo motor show, including the former’s promising EVision Cycle concept.


Forming a stepping stone toward Isuzu’s aim of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the battery-swap electric truck joined battery electric and hydrogen fuel-cell models to demonstrate what IAL says is a “technologically agnostic approach” to future mobility.


The EVision Cycle concept showcases the potential for a fast turnaround battery-swap system, while continuing to adhere to Isuzu’s “dominant themes” of carbon neutrality, driver comfort, safety and connectivity.


Based on the Isuzu N Series, the battery-swapping solution was created in partnership with the Japanese Ministry for the Environment and is said to offer benefits including reduced downtime by “quickly replacing depleted batteries with charged ones”.


Isuzu did not provide detailed information or specifications for the concept model, however GoAuto understands it adheres closely to the formula set out by the recently unveiled N Series EV shown at this year’s Brisbane Truck Show.


Isuzu says the EVision Cycle concept shows that it is possible to reduce both the costs and the load on the electrical grid by charging batteries during off-peak times when electricity rates are lower or when power load at business sites are low.


Furthermore, by separating the battery from the vehicle, the battery can be managed independently, allowing for battery sharing among trucks and “opening the door to other applications, such as energy storage from renewable sources”.


“Our industry is in the midst of unprecedented change,” explained IAL director and chief operating officer, Andrew Harbison.


“From the very fundamentals of the way in which we do business, to evolving environmental and societal expectations it is clear an industry transition is well and truly upon us.


“From a product perspective, events like the (Japan) Mobility Show are invaluable for markets such as Australia. Having direct access to some of the key emerging technologies, we are looking at genuine solutions in our corner of the world which are both insightful and highly valuable.”


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 technological advancement and the expansion of vehicle types.


Mr Harbison explained that in 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”.


Other models on show included the Giga Fuel Cell developed jointly with Honda Motor Company. The hydrogen-powered model is said to be the ideal solution for heavier loads over longer distances and is slated to enter production in 2027.


The Giga Fuel Cell was joined on stage by the N Series EV, a model IAL says is of “key interest for the Australian market”. The N Series EV is Isuzu’s first mass-produced battery electric vehicle, with variations on the stand set to join the line-up in conjunction with “other light-duty diesel powered N Series models” in the imminent future.


Isuzu also showed the Quon GW 6x4, another model IAL says is “being closely watched” for the Australian market. Already on sale in Japan, the Quon GW 6x4 is said to combine efficiency and power for heavy hauling applications. The diesel-powered model is paired with Isuzu/UD’s next generation 12-speed electronically controlled ESCOT-VII automatic transmission, a unit IAL is hopeful will feature in locally available models.


“This broad 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,” said Mr Harbison.


“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.


“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.


“We’re extremely confident in the solutions we’re working towards in Australia, solutions that will enable IAL to maintain its market leadership and continue to provide fit-for-purpose product and value-add to our many loyal customers.”

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