The 70 Series LandCruiser is a cult favourite in rural areas on both sides of the Tasman, representing one of the most rugged and reliable cars on sale.
Toyota doesn’t offer the 70 Series in many major markets, including the US or Japan, leaving Australia and New Zewland as two of the few regions where the car remains on sale.
Normal versions have a 4.5-litre V8 turbo diesel motor unlikely to remain in production in the long term. The bigger LandCruiser 200 Series is rumoured to receive a smaller six-cylinder motor that might find its way into the 70 Series workhorse in years to come.
Electric power could extend the ute’s production run, a move that might be welcomed by mine sites looking to lower their carbon footprint – or reduce tailpipe emissions around workers.
The trial vehicle was built by Toyota in Victoria and will be used underground in Western Australia.
Toyota Australia’s president and chief executive Matthew Callachor said the trial is another step toward a zero emissions future.
“BHP and Toyota have demonstrated a strong relationship throughout the last 20 years, and this project is a great testament to how we can both work together as leading companies in our respective industries to change the future,” Mr Callachor said.
Toyota has not released production plans for the electric 70 Series.
It is possible the electric motor and battery pack could form part of a kit sold to Toyota customers as opposed to being built on Toyota production lines.
If so, it would give existing 70 Series owners an opportunity to upgrade their car to electric power with parts designed and approved by Toyota.