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Anything is possible for the new-generation Toyota Prado off-roader, at least in terms of electrification options that should extend the life of the new large, off-roading SUV well into the next decade.
Toyota seems keen to replicate that with the new-generation Prado, and is weighing up its options for more advanced forms of electrification that will keep emissions down and go further than the mild-hybrid diesel and 2.4-litre petrol-electric hybrid planned at launch.
That’s all according to a report from Autonews, which specifically asked the new Prado’s chief engineer Keita Moritsu about plans for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) powertrain, hydrogen fuel-cell technology and a battery-electric version.
Mr Moritsu’s answers are expectedly measured, given the new Prado is yet to even hit showrooms yet, but Toyota is studying all available options for the crucial new model.
Hydrogen seems like a good bet given Toyota’s preference for the technology in models like the Mirai, and would be suitable for an off-roader as it affords a long driving range and a high towing capacity, but a lack of widespread refuelling infrastructure could be a major hurdle.
As for PHEV, the option for longer-range driving is there thanks to the inclusion of an internal combustion engine, but the tech only serves to lower emissions when owners have the means (and remember) to charge the car.
A battery electric version could also surface, but range and recharging would be a challenge for a vehicle that requires long-distance driving in Australia’s remote Outback.
"Each has difficult points and merit points," Moritsu told media. "So we need to think about how to approach under the multi-pathway."
However, the biggest challenge might not even be picking the right powertrain technology, as something as simple as packaging would first next to be overcome.
"We will try to adjust the platform to accommodate," Moritsu said.
But whether this compromised solution proves competitive against something like the Kia EV9 that is built on from the ground-up as an EV, only time will tell.
Toyota's global design boss and chief branding officer, Simon Humphries, also indicated that all options are currently being studied.
"Toyota is committed to providing mobility to everyone in the world, but not everyone is in the same situation," Autonews reports.
"Whether it will be a BEV in the future or an H2-powered engine or a fuel cell, who knows what is best for LandCruiser? There is lots of discussion we have to have."