Toyota could add a diesel-electric system to its arsenal of hybrid tech

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Toyota will electrify its global range of off-roaders and commercial vehicles by developing a diesel-electric hybrid powertrain, according to a recent report. The system will power bigger, heavier vehicles like the Land Cruiser.

Combining a turbodiesel engine and an electric motor is a match made in heaven for users who need as much torque as possible, like motorists who regularly tow, haul or drive off-road. While official specifications haven't been released, Japanese magazine Best Car speculated the setup will make its debut in 2024 in the next-generation Land Cruiser Prado, which is smaller than the full-size model (pictured) and known as the Lexus GX in America.

The publication believes the turbodiesel will be a 2.5-liter unit, though some models could also get a 3.5-liter. Toyota's hybrid technology is versatile; it powers anything from a Prius to a Subaru Crosstrek. Linking it to a diesel engine shouldn't present significant technical hurdles. What remains to be seen is whether it will be a standard hybrid system or a plug-in hybrid setup. Toyota offers both; the RAV4 Prime is a good example of the latter.

Toyota's commercial vehicles are as unknown as if they had never existed in the United States, but they're a common part of the automotive landscape elsewhere, especially in Asia. People- and cargo-carrying variants of its HiAce are popular in Japan, for example. With this in mind, it's unclear if the diesel-electric drivetrain will be sold in America. Toyota hasn't commented on the rumor, and it hasn't detailed what its future powertrain line-up looks like.

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