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Toyota trials electric LandCruiser 70 Series

Toyota Australia teams up with BHP to trial mining-spec LandCruiser 70 Series EV

8 Jan 2021

TOYOTA Motor Company Australia (TMCA) has announced a small-scale pilot trial in conjunction with mining giant BHP in the development of an all-electric 70 Series LandCruiser single-cab ute.


Created by TMCA’s product planning and development division in Port Melbourne, the trial vehicle has been equipped for underground use and will run solely on battery power.


The donor vehicle is a current-generation single-cab LandCruiser 70 Series Workmate, which has had its 4.5-litre turbo-diesel V8 removed and converted to zero-emissions battery power.


It will be put to use in BHP’s Nickel West mine in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, which employs over 3500 workers.


TMCA has revealed precious few details on the powertrain, giving away nothing about its power outputs, battery size or driving range.


Nevertheless, TMCA president and CEO Matthew Callachor said the trial was a part of its future plans for a zero-emissions future.


“BHP and Toyota have demonstrated a strong relationship throughout the last 20 years, and this project is a great testament to how we can both work together as leading companies in our respective industries to change the future,” he said.


BHP Minerals Australia president Edgar Basto added that the zero-emission mining fleet vehicles would help reduce the company’s reliance on diesel fuel.


“This partnership is another step in our ongoing studies into how we can reduce the emissions intensity of our light-vehicle fleet,” he said.


“Reducing our reliance on diesel at our operations will help achieve our medium-term target of reducing operational emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.”


While the trial is being conducted by TMCA, the outcomes could have ramifications for the future direction of the 70 Series, the current generation of which has been on sale since 2007, mirroring that of its more passenger-focused 200 Series cousin.


Rumours around the 200 Series-replacing 300 Series – due for a reveal this year – suggest a pair of twin-turbo V6 engines in both petrol and diesel flavours will be offered, as well as a hybrid version further down the line. 


Given the current 70 Series and 200 Series share an engine – albeit with an extra turbocharger and automatic gearbox on the 200 Series – the EV trial could possibly be supplanted in the 300 Series as well, offering a range of powertrain options for buyers.


TMCA has said more details on the EV trial will be revealed in the coming months.


The concept of an EV ute for mining is not entirely foreign, with Australian company Safescape announcing last year it would build its own EV dual-cab ute called the Bortana EV, based off the Brazilian-made Agrale Marrua 4WD ute.

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