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Australia’s Most-Loved Utes Will be Going Hybrid

Earlier this year, Toyota set the benchmark when it announced that its much-loved dual-cab ute, the HiLux would be produced in hybrid format by the end of this decade. Although a long way off, it certainly set the scene for plenty to get excited about, with electrification here and here in a big way, and only set to gain more traction as time goes on.

We’re actually somewhat optimistic that Toyota will be able to fast-track the development of a hybrid HiLux given the tailwinds in effect pushing manufacturers to accelerate the transition to more environmentally-friendly cars. So while Toyota has flagged until the end of the decade for a hybrid HiLux, that may well be the case for the company’s entire model range, rather than it’s best-seller.

Toyota has been on record as saying it believes hybrids will be one of the dominant forms of vehicle over the short-term, while also representing a major chunk of the new car market down the track.

Ford joins the party with the Ranger

Australia’s other favourite ute, the Ford Ranger, is also set for an electrified future.

The blue oval brand has confirmed it will develop a hybrid Ranger, alongside a hybrid Everest four-wheel drive, with the jointly-developed pair set to be engineered locally in Australia and assembled out of Thailand.

Pleasingly, Ford is on a fast track to production, aiming to have the duo rolled out overseas by 2024, targeting countries where emissions targets are driving the push to green vehicles. Although that date does not extend to Australia at this stage, there is likely to be pressure over the coming years, particularly on a political front, that will hasten the need for more hybrid and electrified vehicles down under.

This development could very well play into the cards of a hybrid Ranger arriving much sooner than the timeline provided by Toyota. If that looks likely, watch out, because Toyota may well throw down the gauntlet to compete with its arch-nemesis on the hybrid battlefield.

It is looking increasingly as though a hybrid Ranger will be offered in petrol-electric format, with countries across Europe and North America now seemingly putting the brakes on diesel emissions.

What’s even more interesting, however, is that the 2022 version of the Ranger has been ‘future’proofed’ to accommodate hybrid power down the track, raising eyebrows about an even earlier arrival. Ford has achieved this thanks to a redesign of the Ranger’s chassis, optimising space under the hood.

 

What does it all mean? The timelines might be quite distant, but we think there could very well be a surprise to the upside in terms of the hybrid development of Australia’s two best-selling cars.

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