Toyota's off-road lineup is set to embrace a greener future with the anticipated addition of mild-hybrid technology to the 2024 Fortuner SUV in Australia. This introduction is expected to coincide with, or closely follow, the arrival of the new Prado slated for mid-next year as first reported by GaadiWaadi.
In a strategic leap towards sustainability, Toyota earlier disclosed its plans to incorporate mild-hybrid technology in select versions of the HiLux ute, starting from the first half of 2024. This technology is designed to reduce fuel consumption by about 10 percent in controlled testing environments. The integration of this system in the HiLux marks a significant step in Toyota's commitment to eco-friendly automotive solutions.
Speculation is rife that the Fortuner SUV will receive a similar update in India from early 2024. As for its Australian debut, predictions lean towards a mid-year launch, pending final approvals.
Toyota Australia appears to be adopting a distinct marketing approach for its mild-hybrid vehicles. Unlike the substantial fuel economy improvements seen in Toyota's traditional hybrid systems, the mild-hybrid technology offers a more modest enhancement. Consequently, the company is considering branding this new breed of vehicles under a different name, which has been hinted at in recent trademark filings.
The proposed mild-hybrid system for the Fortuner involves integrating a 48-volt electrical system and a small electric motor-generator with the current 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine. This setup is designed to support auxiliary systems and lighten the engine's load, leading to improvements in fuel efficiency and emissions. Notably, this system does not directly power the vehicle's wheels, differentiating it from full hybrid systems.
Further affirming Toyota's green initiative, a senior executive from Toyota's South African division confirmed the introduction of mild-hybrid variants of both the HiLux and the Fortuner in their market by 2024.
With the inclusion of the mild-hybrid system in the upcoming Toyota Prado, set for a mid-2024 release in Australia, Toyota is reinforcing its position as a leader in the integration of environmentally responsible technologies in off-road vehicles. The Fortuner's transition to a mild-hybrid system signifies a crucial step in marrying robust performance with environmental stewardship.
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