But it's not the one you're thinking of.
Australia is the Toyota Land Cruiser's biggest market, and while we pine for the new 300 series that was just revealed, Australia is still getting brand new 70 series models in both SUV and pickup truck form. That's because back when production of the FJ40 ceased, the line branched two ways. America got a bigger, cushier model while in other markets like Europe, the Middle East and Australia still got the simple, hardcore off-road 70 series.
With electrification on the way and the 70 series staying around for perhaps a few more decades, a company called VivoPower is partnering with Toyota in the country, with a letter of intent (LOI) "to create a collaboration program between VivoPower and Toyota Australia for electrification of Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles using conversion kits designed and manufactured by VivoPower's wholly-owned electric vehicle subsidiary, Tembo e-LV B.V."
The LOI is like the initial agreement, which sets out terms for the purchase of goods and services. The Master Services Agreement comes after negotiation between the two parties. VivoPower says that if all goes according to plan the company would be Toyota Australia's exclusive provider of electric powertrains for five years, with an option to add a two-year extension.
"We are extremely pleased to be collaborating with Toyota Motor Company Australia, part of the world's largest original equipment manufacturer on the electrification of their Land Cruiser vehicles with our Tembo conversion kits," said Kevin Chin, executive chairman and CEO of VivoPower. "This partnership is a testament to the potential of Tembo's technology to decarbonize transportation in some of the world's toughest and hardest to decarbonize industries. More importantly, it is a tremendous opportunity for us to optimize the Tembo product and deliver it to more customers around the world."
Sustainable power company VivoPower acquiring a controlling share in electric vehicle specialist Tembo e-LV in 2018 is what made this deal possible. What is easy to understand is why mining companies want electric vehicles. You can't shuttle people and cargo down a tunnel spewing exhaust all the way. Tembo says that the conversion to electric power also saves money and generates less noise.
We've reached out to VivoPower to get a read on what we might be looking at in terms of range and power, and we'll update when we hear back. Currently, Tembo does EV conversions for Toyota's other tough truck, the Hilux, as well.