Hybrid, electric and hydrogen power being considered for Toyota Hilux of the future

A battery-powered Toyota Hilux concept was revealed last year, but any production model will almost certainly be based on the next-generation.

A battery-powered Toyota Hilux concept was revealed last year, but any production model will almost certainly be based on the next-generation.

Published Feb 1, 2023


Melboure - With the automotive world moving into an electrified era, it’s inevitable that most bakkie models will offer some form of alternate propulsion before the end of this decade.

This, of course, includes South Africa’s best-selling vehicle, the Toyota Hilux. According to a new report out of Australia, the company is looking at some interesting solutions, including hydrogen.

Sean Hanley, Toyota’s marketing head in Australia, recently told Drive that the company had sent two Australian product planners to Thailand to look at the future options for the next generation of models.

The Aussie publication reports that three new energy options were being explored – hybrid, full-electric and hydrogen.

"We are considering all of those technologies for Hilux,” Hanley told Drive. “Obviously hybrid is the easy solution for us, because we’re already doing it on other cars, but we don’t discount other technologies that may be more suitable for that car.”

The Toyota executive did not disclose when any of the projects could see light of day but he did say the one-tonne bakkie would probably receive some form of electrification before the end of the decade.

"Anything you write on HiLux is purely speculative because we’re not confirming anything, except to say that some form of electrification is likely on that car over the next seven years," Hanley said.

A hybrid or electric Toyota Hilux would be a huge boon for Toyota South Africa, if it were ever considered for production here, as rapidly electrifying Europe is a key export market for TSA. Although the Hilux diesel option is unlikely to disappear any time soon, the addition of a hybrid model would certainly give the local factory in Prospecton a more sustainable export business model.

The other interesting option mentioned is hydrogen power. Toyota has shown off a hydrogen-powered concept vehicle based on the current Hilux in the UK (as well as a fully electric version in Thailand), although no further information on the vehicles has been released.

Any form of alternative propulsion would almost certainly take place only during the life cycle of the next-generation Toyota Hilux, which is expected to hit the market around 2025.

Toyota is hedging its bets on hydrogen power and is also one of the few carmakers known to be exploring internal-combustion hydrogen models in addition to fuel-cell powered EVs like the Mirai.

Last year, the company created an experimental hydrogen-powered GR Yaris concept featuring a modified fuel supply and injection system that’s compatible with hydrogen fuel.

Although Toyota is keen to commercialise ICE hydrogen cars, it’s unlikely to happen any time soon. Our bet is on a petrol-electric hybrid Hilux seeing light of day first, possibly in tandem with the reveal of the next-generation model.

IOL Motoring