Technology is "many more years" away
17 June 2009

Toyota has ruled out any possibility of offering a diesel hybrid version of the Prius, at least for the foreseeable future.

While brands including Peugeot are moving ahead with diesel hybrids, for Toyota the idea will still take “many more years”, according to executive vice-president Tasatami Takimoto, the man in charge of Toyota’s R&D.

See all the latest Toyota reviews, news and video

Toyota has already set a high benchmark with the new 1.8-litre petrol hybrid Prius, and it sees plug-in technology as the next ecological step.

The Japanese giant is also not such a major player with diesels, and while it did a deal with Isuzu in 2007 to develop a new aluminium-block 1.6-litre diesel, a unit that could be used to power a diesel hybrid Prius, production of that engine is not scheduled to begin until 2012 at the earliest.

Ultimately, though, the issue is cost, says Takimoto. “Actually, we already make a diesel hybrid truck in Japan,” he told Autocar, “but in order to mass-market diesel hybrids we need to make the exhaust emissions much cleaner, and that requires development.

“You have to combine this clean emissions technology with the hybrid system cost, so that means that, currently, it’s a very high-cost powertrain for us,” he added. “So for Toyota, it will take many more years.”

A plug-in hybrid version of the new Prius, with a lithium-ion battery pack, is due in Japan before the end of the year. The UK will also get to see the car, probably in 2010; Toyota may confirm that plan within the next month.

The numbers are small, though; Toyota’s aim is to do a run of 200 plug-in cars for Japan, then a further 300 for the US and Europe.

Our Verdict

Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius is an easy and very visible route to greenness

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • BMW X2
    This is the new BMW X2
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    Doesn’t deliver many typical crossover selling points but looks perky, handles keenly and is well capable of winning over your latent cynic
  • First Drive
    20 March 2018
    The newest version of Rolls-Royce's flagship model sets new standards for opulence and luxury whether you're driving it or being driven in it
  • Used BMW M135i
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    We have bought a used BMW M135i to see how far we can improve this rear-wheel-drive hot hatch
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate
    First Drive
    19 March 2018
    The Mercedes-Benz E-Class could be all the estate car you’ll ever want — or it could be overkill. Let’s see which...
  • Dallara Stradale
    The Stradale is the first road-legel car from Italian motorsport constructor Dallara
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    The motorsport constructor's first road car is inspired by Lotus minimalism. Does it thrill on road and track?