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Electrified Toyota LandCruiser and HiLux confirmed

Electrifying times: Toyota has confirmed electrification is coming to its off-roaders, with special mention of the LandCruiser (left) and HiLux (below).

Toyota Australia bosses confirm hybrid LandCruiser and HiLux, BEV ute also possible

21 Apr 2021

TOYOTA’S ever-popular range of off-roaders is about to get arguably the biggest shake-up to date following confirmation from local executives the brand would be offering at least one electrified variant of every model by 2030, including the booming HiLux and flagship LandCruiser.


The announcement was made during a local media event by Toyota Australia vice-president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley and product planning and development general manager Rod Ferguson in the wake of the reveal of the bZ4X, the brand’s first dedicated EV.


While the GR portfolio was excluded from the commitment, Mr Hanley and Mr Ferguson said that light-commercial vehicles and off-roaders would be among those gifted some form of electrification, with special mention of the HiLux and LandCruiser.


“We plan to offer an electrified option across virtually our entire model range, including commercial vehicles as early as 2030,” Mr Hanley said.


“This target includes vehicles like LandCruiser and HiLux … I don’t have the timing exactly on the vehicles obviously here today, but we have made a very firm commitment here today that by 2030, 100 per cent of our model line will have some type of electrification.


“Light-commercial vehicles was always going to be a slightly delayed response to electrification than say passenger cars and SUVs, we’ve always made that clear.


“Just because you have battery-electric, fuel-cell electric, and or hybrid or plug-in hybrid, doesn’t mean the car has to be less capable, however there is a development phase that’s slightly extended on passenger and SUVs, and that’s what you’re seeing here.”


With the current LandCruiser due to be revealed later this year, it is unlikely the electrified off-roaders will emerge imminently, however the revelation does add weight to the rumours of a V6 hybrid powerplant being earmarked for the 300 Series.


Introducing a hybrid LandCruiser and/or Prado as soon as possible would be a wise move for Toyota as Jeep is primed and ready to launch its new-generation Grand Cherokee range, one that will include at least one 4xe PHEV variant, handing the American brand something of a USP within the segment.


While electrification and more specifically some form of hybridisation is a given for Toyota, less clear however is which fuel-type the various off-roaders – LandCruiser, Prado, HiLux and Fortuner – will utilise with questions being raised as to if the HiLux was in line to receive a diesel-hybrid powertrain.


“We’re considering diesel-hybrids, petrol-hybrids … all forms of lowering the CO2 (emissions) through multiple technologies,” Mr Ferguson said.


“We’re looking at the application of the users in Australia and how they want to use their vehicle, there’s clearly differences between diesel and petrol, even in some parts of Australia where you can access diesel or petrol, different industries like the store of fuel or other equipment that they use.


“I’m not necessarily stating a preference for one over the other, but we’re open-minded to any of those pathways for electrifying and for lowering the carbon.”


In Toyota’s eyes, the market and more specifically the consumers will ultimately decide which powertrain configurations eventuate and become established here with Mr Hanley citing the varying requirements and applications customers have for their vehicles in a country as big as Australia.


A dedicated battery-electric system for the LCVs and off-roaders could also be on the cards further down the track as the brand strives to offer as much customer choice as possible with all four major forms of electrification – HEV, PHEV, FCEV and BEV – due to eventuate at some stage or another.


“You could never rule it (a BEV HiLux or LandCruiser) out because technology will evolve,” Mr Hanley said.


Mr Ferguson added that while an electric HiLux would be a challenge to develop, it was definitely an option going forward and could never be ruled out until the brand definitively said it “can’t do it”.


For reference, the next generation HiLux should emerge sometime in the mid 2020s along with its wagon-bodied Fortuner sibling while the LandCruiser and Prado duo are expected to break cover by the end of 2021 and 2023 respectively.

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