Toyota HiLux to embrace hybrid, electric power: executive

Australia’s best-selling vehicle, the Toyota HiLux ute, will adopt hybrid or electric power by the end of the decade, according to a senior executive.

Development of a toyota hilux with the option of electric or hybrid power is picking up speed ahead of its expected showroom arrival by the end of the decade.

Toyota has revealed that two senior product planners from Australia, who are responsible for shaping the specifications of future vehicles, are in Thailand this week reviewing a range of options for updated and next-generation models.

Toyota Australia head of sales and marketing Sean Hanley says the Toyota HiLux will have “some form” of electrification by the end of the decade and three options are being considered: electric, hybrid and hydrogen.

Last year, an electric Toyota HiLux concept car was unveiled in Thailand and a hydrogen-powered example was unveiled in the UK.

However, reports from Japan have repeatedly claimed that the auto giant is considering hybrid technology for the HiLux ute, four-wheel-drive Prado and LandCruiser 70-series workhorse, though it’s unclear if these will adopt gasoline or diesel hybrid power. .

Gasoline hybrids make the most sense due to the exorbitant cost of filtering toxic diesel emissions, in addition to the cost of a hybrid system.

Several European car companies briefly dabbled with diesel hybrids, but those models have either been scrapped or are nearing the end of the line.

Asked which of the three options – electric, hybrid or hydrogen – would likely come first to the Toyota HiLux, Mr Hanley said: “We are looking at all of the above.

“We are looking at all those technologies for HiLux. Obviously, the hybrid is the easy solution for us, because we are already doing it in other cars, but we don’t rule out other technologies that may be more suitable for that car.”

“We have a number of really exciting things happening at HiLux. There are electrification prototypes that we are looking at.

Asked if a Toyota HiLux hybrid variant would arrive before the end of this generation in the next few years, or after the next generation arrives in 2025 or 2026, Hanley said: “We are always looking for developments.

“So while I would neither confirm nor deny anything about the current HiLux, I will never rule out any possibility of accelerating further electrification.”

“We are always looking for ways to improve HiLux for our customers.”

Asked if a hybrid option would be added to the Toyota HiLux range as the current generation nears the end of its life cycle, or wait until the next model arrives, Mr Hanley said:

“You’ll have to wait and see that. What I will say is that electrification is accelerating. But when I say that, Toyota’s perspective hasn’t changed.”

“Our position is clear: carbon dioxide emissions are the enemy here. We are playing a role in reducing CO2 emissions in the Australian market now. And 72,000 Toyota hybrid vehicles (sold last year) indicate that customers see it, too.

“Australian new car buyers are gravitating towards hybrids, and it’s also true that electric vehicle sales are accelerating in the market.

“What we’re saying is that the market will determine (what cars people buy) and the market should have options.”

When asked about the most likely form of electrified drive for the Toyota HiLux, Hanley said: “Everything I write on HiLux is purely speculative because we’re not confirming anything except to say that there is likely to be some form of electrification on that car. “. the next seven years.”

“We will always continue to evaluate all new models for Australia as they become available, particularly with regards to electrification.”

He toyota hilux ute has been the best-selling vehicle in Australia for the past seven years and also the best-selling four-wheel drive vehicle in 2022.

While diesel engines dominate the Australian double cab utility vehicle market, the choice of petrol hybrid technology for the Toyota HiLux, or pure electric power, would eliminate the customer drawbacks of diesel utility vehicles that require refills of additives to reduce emissions, such as AdBlue.

There are currently no hybrid double-cab vehicles for sale in Australia, however the Ford Ranger is expected to add the option of a plug-in hybrid petrol variant within the next two years (tests seen in Europe, above, wearing camouflage). .

mitsubishi It has also heralded a plug-in hybrid variant of the next-generation Triton ute, set to be introduced from 2024.

The new full-size Toyota Tundra pickup (pictured below) is now available with gas-electric hybrid power in the US and that model is capable of towing over 4.5 tons with a heavy-duty hitch .

For now, it is not clear if hybrid technology will be introduced in the current generation Toyota HiLux, or with the arrival of the all-new model expected in 2025 or 2026. And if it will be a four-cylinder hybrid or V6.

Toyota Australia has, for now, refused to rule out the possibility of adding hybrid technology to the current generation of Toyota HiLux, which recently got the option of a wider track for the top-of-the-line Rogue and GR Sport (pictured above). below), despite the current platform nearing the end of its 10-year model cycle.

The Toyota executive repeated earlier assertions that the Japanese auto giant will have a range of low- or zero-emission vehicles by 2030 across all models except high-performance GR vehicles, but also stressed the importance of introducing technology that adapts to the diverse needs of Australians. motorists

“In Australia at the moment a lot of people are towing caravans, a lot of people are using cars for leisure and in industry,” Mr Hanley said.

“Electric vehicles will suit some customers, hybrid vehicles will suit some customers, and fuel cell vehicles will suit some customers. We’re going to give them a choice. Our position hasn’t changed.”

Asked when an all-electric version of the Toyota HiLux might be available to buy, following the unveiling of a concept vehicle in Thailand late last year and a number of third-party suppliers setting up their own conversions, Mr. Hanley said. that Toyota would prioritize a hybrid alternative because it is more affordable.

Today, Toyota’s hybrid cars typically command a $2,500 price premium over the equivalent gasoline model, but real-world tests show that hybrid vehicles use half as much fuel as an equivalent gasoline model.

Toyota says that halving fuel bills and emissions from the 315,000 hybrid cars sold locally over the past 20 years has produced the same emissions reduction as putting 95,000 electric cars on Australian roads. Last year 33,410 electric vehicles sold were reported.

Although the Toyota executive did not mention the name of Australia’s first electric vehicle: the LDV eT60 from China, priced at $92,990 plus on-road costs (pictured above), which went on sale late last year, Mr Hanley said: “There is an electric ute on the market in Australia in this moment. What price does it have?

“Is it better to have 72,000 hybrids on the road that are affordable, practical and meet what customers want? Or a handful of (electric vehicles) right now… that don’t have the scale right now to meet customers’ customer requirements (in terms of driving range and price).

“Auto companies don’t decide what cars people buy, the customer decides.”

Joshua Dowling has been a motorsports journalist for over 20 years, spending most of that time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as motorsports editor and an early member of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice/Drive in 2018 and has been a World Car of the Year judge for over 10 years.

Read more about Joshua Dowlinglink icon

Add Comment