Hybrid Toyota Pickups Coming?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
hybrid toyota pickups coming

Toyota may have won a near-monopoly on modern hybrid drivetrains over the last decade, but at least until recently its Hybrid Synergy Drive has been limited to use in car and crossover applications. Sensing the vulnerability, GM, Chrysler, Daimler and BMW collaborated to develop a large V8-based hybrid system capable of powering large light-duty trucks. The resulting “Two-Mode” hybrid system has largely proven to be a bust, as BMW and Mercedes have limited its use to one-time X5/X6 and ML Hybrids. GM and Chrysler have tried to sell Two-Mode versions of their full-sized trucks and SUVs with little success over the past several years, as relatively low fuel prices and high MSRPs conspired against the hybrid truck segment. Now Toyota may be targeting the hybrid pickup market, as its Hino truck unit has begun testing a hybrid drivetrain for light-duty trucks that it hopes to commercialize by net year. Greencarcongress.com reports:

The hybrid system, which features a clutch between its engine and motor, offers an all-electric drive mode for the truck. Internal Hino testing showed an improvement in fuel efficiency of a diesel truck by about 50%.

Testing by the Japanese postal service, and several private firms should give a better sense of the efficiency benefits of this system, but that will still leave the question of price. And gas prices. And America’s willingness to buy pickups from Toyota in Detroit-like numbers. On the other hand, it’s not safe to underestimate any Toyota hybrid. If this new drivetrain can do for trucks what Hybrid Synergy did for cars, things could get interesting…

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  • Quentin Quentin on Dec 13, 2010

    I'd take a hybrid 4Runner. I love mine, but I'd gladly take 26mpg instead of the 22mpg I'm regularly getting.

  • PeteMoran PeteMoran on Dec 14, 2010

    As one of my jobs in energy, I've been involved in some form or another in the Hino hybrid truck programme for more than 5 years. There are small test fleets dotted all over the world. Our job has been collating the data and auditing the trials. Hino have recently taken their second order to switch an entire city-based delivery fleet here in Australia; they're doing it quietly but there won't be any slowing it. Non-Toyota/Lexus/Hino hybrid players are literally 5-8 years behind. Watch for a full hybrid assault shortly.

  • Cole Cole on Dec 14, 2010

    FYI it was never in the X5, just the X6. I'm not sure whether the Active7 is two-mode or not.

  • Steven02 Steven02 on Dec 14, 2010

    Really depends on what the hybrids are for and the limitations. Would construction companies use these? How about people who tow their big boats or horse trailers etc.? If people don't want to pay for high gas prices, they won't pay the money for a hybrid truck that costs a lot either. Why by a hybrid truck if you can get away with a car that gets better mileage if you don't NEED the truck? I think Toyota will find that out if the put this in the truck market. People who need a truck will have to determine if the hybrid fits their needs at the cost of the hybrid system. People who don't need trucks won't by the hybrid system with high gas prices. If this can be put into industrial trucks, or trucks that do a lot of stop and go, like what GM did with city buses, it would be a good thing. Postal service trucks are a good start too, but most of them are very small light weight vehicles. Not exactly a job someone needs a Tundra for.