Powered by
  • WheelsWheels
  • 4X4 Australia4X4 Australia
  • Street MachineStreet Machine
  • Trade Unique CarsTrade Unique Cars

Toyota Landcruiser or Prado Hybrid outed in patent filing?

By Tony O'Kane, 10 Aug 2017 Car News

Toyota Landcruiser or Prado Hybrid outed in patent filing?

Recent patent application suggests Toyota may be planning an electrified body-on-frame offroader

A patent application filed by Toyota with the US Patent and Trademark Office reveals the Japanese automaker is investigating the idea of an electrically-assisted body-on-frame offroader.

The application doesn’t show any specific model, but silhouettes used in illustrations indicate a wagon bodystyle with a three-row seat configuration. That narrows the list of potential candidates down to five – the Hilux-based Toyota Fortuner, the Prado and the 200-series Landcruiser, plus the US-market 4Runner and Sequoia.

 The Kluger’s carlike monocoque chassis is different to the ladder-frame architecture beneath the other three, and is more akin to the RAV4.

A hybrid off-roader would be new territory for Toyota, though the carmaker has dipped its toe in the water before with the A-BAT concept ute of 2010.The patent filing gives few clues away as to whether the system would be paired with a petrol or diesel powerplant, however given Toyota’s lack of experience with diesel-electric hybrids the former is the most likely.

As for the patent itself, it simply details how a high-voltage hybrid battery pack (labelled 70 in the top two images) would be housed in a ladder-framed wagon. Sitting in a metal tub sandwiched between the third row and the spare wheel, the battery would be nestled between the left and right chassis ‘rails’ and be framed by a pair of crossmembers.

The language used is broad, and refers to not only conventional hybrids but plug-in hybrids and fully-electric vehicles as well.

Does it necessarily indicate Toyota is planning any of them for its future off-roader portfolio? Not necessarily, but patenting the technology is one of the first steps a company takes when introducing a new vehicle.