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.
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.