Can we interest you in a few electrons under the hood?
There's been a lot of speculation about what's happening to the Toyota Land Cruiser in the North American market. Will the recently leaked 300 Series arrive on our shores or not? Chances are the answer is "no." Toyota has already confirmed it'll build a new three-row SUV designed specifically for American tastes at its plant in Indiana. It'll probably replace the aging Sequoia. But there's a certain other Land Cruiser the Japanese automaker recently began testing in Australia that we truly want.
The zero-emissions, pure battery-electric 70 Series is a testbed for the future of off-roading and, according to Australian outlet CarsGuide, and it could make it to production.
Toyota Australia's general manager of product planning and development, Rod Ferguson, was directly asked about the SUV's prospects and his response sounds promising.
"It's definitely possible, and there's definite demand for a product like that. I reckon that's a possibility at some point, but the timeframe is unknown."
It should be further pointed out that the 70 Series EV pilot program is a joint effort with a local company called BHP; the SUV does not utilize the battery technology in the upcoming bZ4X all-electric crossover. Furthermore, the 70 Series EV prototype does not ride on the company's new dedicated E-TNGA global platform. This is a separate project entirely.
"We're using another company with a conversion kit, and we're working with that company to engineer enhancements within that project, so we're kind of Toyota-ising that application if you like, so it's very different to someone buying a car off us and putting a kit in it," Ferguson said.
That being said, we highly doubt a series-production version, even in limited numbers, will ever make its way to North America. It may not even leave Australia, for that matter. What the pilot program does appear to be doing is proving that a decades-old and beloved design can be modernized for the new zero-emissions era. All it takes is an automaker's desire to make it happen and a sufficient number of customers.