Toyota 48V: Hybrid heavyweights in a changing world

Toyota’s electric car strategy focuses on a variety of powertrains, as opposed to just one solution.

Toyota’s global mandate to lower overall emissions via a multi-technology approach sees the venerable Hilux and popular Fortuner package receive their timely respective doses of hybridisation.

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Announced by the former president and CEO and current chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation, Akio Toyoda, in late 2021, this proud Japanese brand’s aim of carbon neutrality throughout the life cycle of its vehicles by 2050 will be achieved via a ‘multi-pathway approach’, rather than a line-in-the-sand decision to focus on all-electric mobility. Having since honed these plans to include a forecast of selling 1.5 million EVs by 2026 (representing an estimated 14% of total sales), the remaining volume will be complemented by products featuring either electrified internal combustion engines (mild hybrids), plug-in hybrids or hydrogen fuel cell (FCEV) powertrains. 

Toyota believes it has a responsibility to ensure that every customer has the opportunity to choose the lowest-possible CO2 emissions product on the journey to carbon neutrality – irrespective of market, segment and budget. This is why the Toyota electric car strategy focuses on a variety of powertrains, as opposed to just one solution.

“Customers, not regulations or politics, should decide on what path to rely on in terms of the common goal of lowering CO2”, stated Toyota. 

Pioneers in the field of hybrid powertrains, Toyota has sold more than 17 million electrified vehicles globally since the introduction of the Prius in 1997. The best-selling brand in South Africa for the past 44 years, 55% of Toyota products (including Lexus) sold in our market in 2022 fell into the New Energy Vehicle (NEV) category, meaning there is some level of electrification present in their respective powertrains. The current best-selling NEV in Toyota’s stable is the Corolla Cross. 

Hilux and Fortuner gain 48V mild-hybrid technology

Available immediately, the best-selling eighth-generation Hilux and segment-defining new Fortuner SUV are available in South Africa with the choice of 48V mild-hybrid technology mated with the brand’s venerable 2.8 GD-6 turbodiesel powertrain and six-speed automatic transmission. Seamlessly integrated within this proven powertrain, the advantage of this compact and lightweight technology is that it offers greater efficiency, improved driving performance and enhanced comfort in both urban and off-road environments.

Image: Toyota.

Capable of delivering up to 12kW and 65N.m of additional power and torque to the vehicle’s powertrain, this 48V motor/generator replaces a conventional alternator within the engine’s packaging. Powered by a battery housed below the rear passenger seat, this system also incorporates a DC-DC converter to supplement the workings of the vehicle’s other 12V componentry, thus improving overall efficiency. 

By lowering the GD-6’s idle speed from 720 to just 600r/min, the 48V system aims to improve average fuel consumption by working in conjunction with an advanced start/stop system. In an urban environment, this setup works seamlessly – and is mated via a two-arm belt tensioner – to fire the engine back to life the instant the brake pedal is lifted. Initial pull-away is also made that much more controlled via this electric supplement. 

The 48V battery weighs just 7.6kg and is recharged on the move via energy harnessed from the regenerative braking system. 

Image: Toyota.

Of course, both Hilux and Fortuner are known for their rugged, adventure-focused character, including the former’s formidable reputation as a rugged workhorse. While the 48V motor itself is mated to the GD-6 motor via a two-arm belt tensioner and high-strength rib side fabric belt to help ensure durability with improved slip resistance in wet conditions, all other associated componentry is specifically packaged to complement these two tough contenders. This includes retaining the stated wading depth of any of the respective packages in which it’s installed

How a 48V mild hybrid system works  

Unlike more complex hybrid setups, the appeal of Toyota’s 48V system is that it can be installed on existing powertrains, including the brand’s popular 2.8 GD-6 turbodiesel unit with the six-speed automatic transmission. This setup aims to deliver both supplementary performance to this 150 kW/500N.m engine, as well as powering most of the vehicle’s 12V controls and components. 

Energy stored within the 48V battery is directed seamlessly and on-demand, via a DC-DC converter, to ‘boost’ performance when required; in this instance at low speeds and while tackling heavily congested roads. Recharged via regenerative braking, this additional energy also helps to improve initial throttle response for an altogether more controlled initial pull-away. 

Image: Toyota.

Reopened in August 2022 after extensive flood damage, Plant Prospecton remains the proud home of Hilux and Fortuner production, including the new 48V mild-hybrid derivatives. In 2023, 71 014 Hilux derivatives and 1 613 units of the Fortuner were exported from this world-class facility. These numbers are in addition to the 37 382 units of Hilux and 10 385 units of Fortuner that found homes in South Africa during this period.  

Hilux pricing

FORTUNER pricing

All Hilux and Fortuner models are covered by the three-year/100 000km warranty and a nine-services/90 000km service plan. Service intervals are set at 10 000km and customers can purchase a variety of service plans and warranty extensions from their nearest of 220 Toyota dealers, countrywide.

Find the full feature in the May issue of CAR Magazine.

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The post Toyota 48V – Hybrid Heavyweights in a Changing World appeared first on CAR Magazine.

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