First “hybrid” Toyota Hilux and Fortuner get launch dates in South Africa

Toyota will be launching its first hybrid powertrains for the Hilux bakkie and Fortuner SUV in South Africa in March 2024.

First announced in June 2023, the powertrain will feature a 48V mild hybrid system coupled with the regular 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine.

It will be available as an option in higher-end Hilux Raider, Legend Auto, and Fortuner models.

The 48V system’s battery provides auxiliary power with 12kW output and 65Nm of torque and uses a motor-generator instead of an alternator.

Toyota said this delivers an improved throttle response and more linear acceleration in urban environments.

It also supports regenerative braking “tuned to create a more effective and natural deceleration feel”.

Toyota said when negotiating rough surfaces, the motor-generator enabled smoother acceleration, and regenerative braking supported safer downhill manoeuvring.

In addition, a reduced idle speed of 600rpm compared to 720rpm makes it easier for the driver to control the vehicle.

The mild hybrid Hilux will also be the first to support Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) for extra performance and control by giving the driver the option to adjust vehicle stability control settings according to specific driving conditions.

“The system automatically calibrates the vehicle to regulate power and wheel spin in order to enhance traction and manoeuvrability,” Toyota explains.

“The driver can select one of five pre-set options: dirt, sand, mud, deep snow or rock.”

Not a proper hybrid

There is a big difference between the 48V mild hybrid system and the Toyota Hybrid System (THS) that is currently available in its Corolla Cross and RAV4 vehicles, among others.

The 48V system is primarily intended to improve stop-start engine efficiency and can only reduce fuel consumption by about 5%, as it boasts a more compact design with a smaller lithium-ion battery.

The advantage of this setup is that it can be fitted to existing non-electric powertrains.

THS-equipped cars have bigger batteries that are capable of powering the car on their own at low speeds and accleration, giving them an all-electric feel.

However, they require custom powertrain designs.

The 48V system goes by various names in other “mild hybrid” vehicles, including the Suzuki Grand Vitara.

The video below from Toyota explains how the 48V mild hybrid system works and includes a comparison with THS.

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First “hybrid” Toyota Hilux and Fortuner get launch dates in South Africa