Toyota is working on at least one diesel-hybrid powertrain, according to a report coming out of Japan’s Best Car.
According to that title’s well-placed sources, the cleaner electrified diesel setup is destined for commercials and off-road 4x4s.
It doesn’t take a great deal of joining the dots to suggest this means one (or all) of HiLux ute; Fortuner, Prado and LandCruiser 4x4s; and HiAce van could get the treatment.
It’s no secret that Toyota will have mild-electrified hybrid versions of all its vehicles before decade’s end (probably sooner), including utes and vans. The company itself has said as much.
What hasn’t been officially confirmed is whether a diesel-hybrid would join the range of existing petrol-hybrids or not.
That being said, Toyota Australia executive staff have previously hinted at a diesel-hybrid future for its commercials as a bridge to the EV transition, which will look something like this.
“We’re considering diesel hybrids, petrol hybrids… we’re looking at all forms of lowering the CO2 through multiple technologies,” said Toyota Australia head of product planning Rod Ferguson told this writer in April this year.
“There’s clearly differences… even in some parts of Australia whether you can access diesel or petrol. Different industries like to store fuels for other equipment that they use.
“So it’s not necessarily stating a preference for one over the other, but we’re open minded to any of those pathways for electrifying.”
Mr Ferguson said Toyota’s Australian engineers and development team would be playing a part.
“Absolutely… our capable local team of engineers and technicians represents testing for the southern hemisphere, which we know is generally hotter than the northern hemisphere environments.
“And as we’ve said, any vehicle that we bring to Australia must maintain the appropriate level of suitability and quality that Toyota is respected for, so they’ll play a big role.”
The company has been running what it calls a ‘hybrid roadshow’ for years, taking electrified cars into rural areas to explain how the technology will be best applied to 4×4-ing, towing, carrying loads, and travelling vast distances.
Toyota Australia vice-president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley said has was “acutely aware” of the diversity of user cases among Australian commercial and 4×4 vehicle owners.
“Whether it be for cities, rural sectors, agriculture, mining, whether it be for recreation, driving off-road, whatever it may be, there’s a very diverse use of vehicles in Australia,” Mr Hanley told us.
“The reality is these vehicles going forward must be fit for purpose because ultimately the consumer will decide whether they will adopt electrification based on performance, practicality, capability, and affordability.
“So therefore… we must bring products to market that are fit for purpose, that give consumers the choice. This is a critical part of the adoption of electrification not only in this country, but anywhere in the world, actually.
“… Because there’s no user bringing a heavy SUV to market that can’t do the things customers want it to do. They just will not adopt it.”