Toyota confirm first hybrid electric ute to arrive in NZ next year

Toyota confirm first hybrid electric ute to arrive in NZ next year

In a move towards decarbonization, Toyota New Zealand has unveiled its plans to introduce a hybrid electric version of the iconic Hilux to Aotearoa in early 2024. This development marks a significant step in the company's commitment to reducing the tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions of its vehicle lineup by a minimum of 46% by 2030.

With its sights set on meeting a science-based Target, Toyota NZ recognizes the pivotal role that the electrified diesel hybrid Hilux will play in achieving this goal. This innovative addition to the range aims to meet the needs of Hilux drivers across the country while making a substantial impact in the New Zealand ute scene, which represents the largest segment of the local car and light commercial market.

Neeraj Lala, Chief Executive of Toyota New Zealand, expressed his enthusiasm for the hybrid Hilux and the company's broader transition to sustainable technologies and transport. 

"We have maintained for a long time that hybrid technology is the best solution to decarbonization until fully battery electric technology is both available and affordable," said Lala.

"Our ambition is to offer a fully electric Hilux, however, until that is available, hybrid remains the best technology and will only drive our overall emissions down further."

He emphasized the importance of ensuring no one is left behind in the transition to an electrified future. The hybrid Hilux aims to enable tradies, farmers, and businesses to reduce their carbon footprints while maintaining the capabilities and ruggedness that Hilux is known for, ensuring that the great Kiwi lifestyle can continue to thrive.

Toyota's hybrid technology will be integrated with the 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine and six-speed automatic transmission of the Hilux. The system includes an additional 48V battery, a small electric motor generator, and other essential components. This combination not only improves fuel economy but also introduces features such as a stop/start system, enhanced off-road driveability, and reduced noise, vibration, and harshness.

Importantly, the hybrid technology will have no impact on the Hilux's capability, with the 4x4 models maintaining the current model's abilities, including an impressive 3,500kg braked towing capacity. 

Additionally, Toyota NZ plans to repurpose or recycle end-of-life parts from its vehicles, including batteries, to minimize waste and promote sustainability.

While specific details regarding the new hybrid Hilux's specifications and performance are not yet available, Toyota NZ anticipates that the first units will be available for customer delivery in the first quarter of 2024.