The northern part of Japan is still a disaster area – high levels of radiation, towns in ruins, and people displaced. More than eight months after the earthquake and exploding reactors, serious reconstruction efforts are under way. The rebuilding project is, among other things, an opportunity to display some altruism – and there are a few entities more than willing to make that leap.
Hino Motors, best known for producing light trucks and cars (called kei trucks and kei cars in Japan), has more or less donated nearly 60 little trucks to the disaster relief efforts. The trucks they sent up there are their fairly new Dutro Hybrid models.
Local governments in four prefectures benefit from Hino Motors’ generosity (13 trucks in Iwate, 20 trucks in Miyagi, 15 in Fukushima (yes, that’s the one with the exploded nuclear plant), and 10 trucks in Ibaraki). The trucks will stay with the local governments for a year at no cost, and when Hino Motors says no cost, they mean it. The company is not only sending the trucks themselves free of charge, but they’re also paying the cost of registration, maintenance, and fuel.
The cost of fuel, of course, is far lower for the diesel hybrids than it would be even for the standard Dutro; the little hybrids are about 50% more fuel efficient than a traditional diesel truck, making them ideal for a disaster area where resources are limited to begin with.
It’s no coincidence that Hino Motors gets to show off how well their trucks work in difficult circumstances as well as help the relief efforts – which makes it win/win all around in my book.