There’s a hybrid, but not for Australia
The new Prado will be available with a petrol-hybrid system – but not for Australia.
The 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo is paired with electric motors to make a combined 243kW and 630Nm.
It’s unclear why, but that engine won’t be offered in Australia, instead reserved for China and North America.
EV models are coming … eventually
Toyota has promised a hybrid or full electric version of its core models by 2030. That includes the Prado and LandCruiser.
Down the track then, expect the Prado to pick a full EV system for zero tailpipe emissions.
The big question is whether it will be a pure battery electric vehicle or a hydrogen fuel cell EV (FCEV), the latter capable of performing a chemical reaction to turn hydrogen into electricity.
Toyota has been pushing hard on FCEV tech and clearly sees it as a viable longer term zero tailpipe emissions solution in Australia.
The benefits are obvious: five-minute refuelling and lighter weight hydrogen tanks. The challenge for hydrogen is the lack of refuelling infrastructure.
Battery electric technology is available now but is not always well suited to towing over long distances or visiting remote areas, two things buyers expect of a Prado. Better battery technology could address that; Toyota is working hard on solid state batteries that would do just that, while improved charging infrastructure could also provide a solution to long-distance touring.
Either way, expect better solutions for long distance touring with battery electric vehicles in the not-too-distant future.
So, how far off are electric 4WDs?
Off-road vehicles powered purely by electricity are either available or under development – but they’re like a few years away from dealerships in Australia.
Car makers such as Ford, Nissan and Toyota are currently developing off-road vehicles powered purely by electrons.
And in the United States there are various options currently on sale. They include the Ford F-150 Lightning and Chevrolet Silverado, two large pick-up trucks that have proven popular in their early sales phases.