The Toyota HiLux with 48-volt mild hybrid technology recently made its debut in person at the recent Safari WRC Rally in Kenya, ahead of its introduction in Australia in the first half of 2024.
The HiLux GR-S MHEV concept did two demonstration runs around the Karasani stage, with the ute driven by four-time WRC champion Juha Kankkunen with Kenyan actor Jimmi Gathu as co-driver.
The HiLux mild-hybrid concept has a strong black, white and green livery with ‘hybrid’ emblazoned on both sides, as well as ‘HEV’ on the rear doors.
Toyota Australia has specifically gone the route of not calling this electric HiLux a hybrid, instead referring to it as the Toyota HiLux with 48-Volt Technology.
The system combines the existing 2.8 liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission, and consists of a 48V battery, a small electric motor generator and other components.
It will be standard on all dual-cab 4×4 SR5 and Rogue models in Australia, and optional on dual-cab 4×4 SR.
Toyota promises an estimated 10 percent increase in fuel economy for “certain HiLux models” compared to the existing 2.8-liter sans electrification, as well as improved drivability and reduced noise, vibration and harshness.
For context, HiLux models with the 2.8-litre engine without electrics and automatic transmission now use between 7.5 liters and 8.1 liters per 100km on the combined cycle.
The mild hybrid system also allows Toyota to offer an automatic stop/start system in the HiLux.
The company promises that there will be no impact on the ute’s capabilities. All models with the system will retain a braked towing capacity of 3500kg.
“We continue to work to reduce the fuel consumption of our vehicles to help reduce ongoing costs for customers, as well as help reduce our environmental impact, and the addition of 48-Volt Technology to our best-selling vehicle range will contribute to this,” said vice president of sales, marketing and Sean Hanley’s Toyota Australia franchise operation.
“This new technology will not only improve fuel consumption, but customers will also benefit from improved on- and off-road performance, making the HiLux even more attractive for weekend getaways or long-term trips into the countryside.”
The ute segment in Australia still lacks a full hybrid offering, but GWM is expected to get there first with the Shanhai cannon due out this year. Ford is also working on a plug-in hybrid Ranger.
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