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Electrified Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Series and HiLux detailed: Diesel hybrid and battery electric not ruled out for off-road heroes in Australia - but there might be a bit of a wait

The electrified Toyota off-roaders are confirmed for Australia - but may not be until the tail end of the 2020s.

The incoming LandCruiser 300 Series and a future HiLux ute will be electrified in line with Toyota Australia's commitment to bring an electric variant to each of its model lines – except for its performance GR brand – by 2030.

Toyota has said this is a solid commitment and would not rule out any kind of electrification for its ever popular off-roaders, as opposed to Hyundai which has made no secret of its plans to replace diesel models with fuel cell electric vehicles in the long term – but has said the market would ultimately decide what technology will take the lead.

“There’s no doubt about FCEVs being better for load bearing vehicles, but our thinking is to bring options to our market – we must offer a choice of electrification,” explained Toyota Australia’s VP of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley. “There’s no use bringing a heavy SUV [in the case of 300 Series] to market that can’t do what consumers need it to.”

A diesel hybrid was suggested as an option for the both the HiLux and 300 Series, but Toyota wouldn’t specifically rule out a battery electric version either, despite the technology’s inherent limitations and Toyota’s commitment to have products that are fit for purpose for our market.

“We haven’t ruled out a pure electric HiLux,” said Rod Ferguson, Toyota’s general manager of product planning and development. “We can’t rule it out as we don’t know how things are going to change with progress in technology, progress in platforms.”

The brand’s representatives pointed to the battery electrification of the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado as other examples of load-bearing commercial vehicles which are being switched to battery electric, but also most recently at the launch of the Mirai fuel cell electric sedan, pointed out that there is “definitely potential” for FCEV technology for HiLux and LandCruiser as the tech offers quick refuelling.

Meanwhile the LandCruiser is touted to start its next generation with a diesel V6 complete with a hybridised version. It would be a fairly unique product globally, with hybrid diesel engines mainly relegated to heavy commercial vehicles like Volvo Buses and Hino light trucks.

Regardless, it fits Toyota’s strategy of providing a “fit for purpose” off-roader. “Hybrid is not a transition strategy,” Mr Hanley said. “In the medium term, we see hybrids being the dominant type of electrification.”

So, your next LandCruiser or HiLux could very well be electrified in some form, but how about timing? Toyota’s representatives wouldn’t be drawn on specifics, but pointed to the latter end of the decade for “commercial” applications, which it says include the HiLux and Land Cruiser – stating these models would not be “fast tracked” for our market.

Toyota re-iterated its commitment to be “beyond zero” in terms of carbon emissions – and will offer 70 electrified models by 2030, up from the current 55, its first pure electric vehicle – the just-revealed bZ4X will be globally introduced by “mid 2022” with the brand hoping it will be on sale in Australia in the months after its global launch.