Prime time! Toyota Australia will finally offer a plug-in hybrid model

Toyota Australia may be the pioneer of the petrol-electric hybrid powertrain in Australia, and the Japanese brand may well be on track to achieve a third of all its sales being hybrids – but it is innovating in other parts of the new energy vehicle space.

All-electric cars, or BEVs as the brand calls them, are the most obvious shortcoming – but plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models are another crucial technology where Toyota is lagging behind.

Rival brands such as Kia (Sorento PHEV), Ford (Escape PHEV), Mitsubishi (Outlander and Eclipse Cross PHEV) and MG (HS PHEV) are all well ahead of Toyota in providing customers with a vehicle capable of longer distances on electricity alone, while racing a gasoline engine as backup.

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Toyota is calling its range of plug-in hybrid models Prime, and it might just be time for the local branch to introduce such a model, according to Toyota Australia Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Franchise Operations Sean Hanley.

Mr Hanley said Cars Guide During a media event last week, the brand saw customer attitudes towards PHEV models change lately.

“I still maintain that people want convenience, don’t they,” he said, referring to earlier comments about customers not wanting to have to plug in their cars at night or on a regular basis. “I’m not coming back from [those comments]. But the reality is that at that time the hybrid was still maturing in itself.

Toyota calls its range of plug-in hybrid models Prime.

“I think now the sentiment is definitely changing,” said Mr. Hanley, who in years past has suggested that customers might not be as attracted to these types of electrified models because of the effort and cost. additional costs associated with owning a PHEV. Buyers, for example, are more likely to spend more money due to the technology costing more to produce, while also wanting to park it in a garage with access to an outlet – which, in reality, isn’t not as feasible as it may seem for a lot of customers out there.

“So what I told you three or four years ago – I would tell you, I think the plug-in hybrid is an alternative that will come to market. We will have plug-in hybrids in the future – that’s sure we will.

“We will have them in the future, there is no doubt about that. But it will be part of our electrification portfolio,” he said.

Mr Hanley would not comment on what shape or form Toyota might take, saying only that “we have already made it clear that by 2030, 95% of our vehicles – excluding GR – will feature some form of electrification”.

Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models are another crucial technology where Toyota is dragging its feet. Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models are another crucial technology where Toyota is dragging its feet.

With the brand already offering hybrid versions of the Yaris, Yaris Cross, Corolla, the upcoming Corolla Cross, C-HR, RAV4, Kluger and Camry, it has plenty of electrification in its current portfolio. Toyota says about 30% of sales in 2022 were gasoline-electric hybrid models.

Even the next right-hand-drive converted Tundra pickup will feature a hybrid powertrain.

There is, however, an obvious candidate for expansion in the field of plug-in hybrids.

The RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid model seems like a logical step up from the existing and ridiculously popular RAV4 non-plug-in hybrid lineup.

The Prime model is offered with a 2.5-liter gasoline engine, just like the regular hybrid versions of the RAV4, but adds an 18.1 kWh battery and plug-in charging capability, with electric motors on both axles.

By 2030, Toyota expects 95% of its vehicles to be equipped with some form of electrification. By 2030, Toyota expects 95% of its vehicles to be equipped with some form of electrification.

It also has a benchmark power output of 225kW when the electric motors and petrol engine are combined – and if you’re wondering what that means in the real world? Well, how about that – it’ll do the 0-100km/h sprint faster than the new GR86 sports coupe! American documentation indicates a 0-60 mph (0-98 km/h) of 5.7 seconds, where the fastest GR 86 can only do 0-100 km/h in 6.3 seconds.

It also offers an all-electric range of 67 kilometers, based on US tests, and has the choice of 3.3 kW charging or 6.6 kW charging. That could mean a recharge time as short as 2.5 hours on a 240 volt / 32 amp supply.

In total, the PHEV version of the RAV4 is said to use the equivalent of just 2.5 liters per 100 kilometres, meaning it’s about twice as efficient as the regular hybrid version, which has an optimal figure of 4.7L. /100 km for the 2WD versions and 4.8L for the AWD models.

Whether or not Toyota decides on its Prime time remains to be seen. But the plug-in version of the RAV4 would certainly see competing brands affected.

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