Wired: TMC President Katsuaki Watanabe Says No Diesel Hybrid Powertrain for Tundra Pickup
By Mike LevinePosted: 03-05-08 17:29 PT
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Update #1: 03-06-08 08:27 PT

Check out Sam Abuelsamid's take on this news at Autoblog, with extra insight on diesel hybrids from Toyota execs here in the US.

Wired Magazine is quoting Toyota Motor Corporation President Katsuaki Watanabe as saying the company will not offer a diesel hybrid version of the Tundra full-size pickup because the cost of pairing a diesel engine with electric motors would make the truck "prohibitively expensive".

These comments echo an earlier statement from General Motors' Gary White, vice president and vehicle line executive for GM full-size trucks.

Mr. White told PickupTruck.com in October 2007 that hybrids and diesels are independently expensive powertrains to produce. Combining the two would likely not yield high enough fuel economy improvements to make it economically worthwhile to offer a diesel-electric hybrid truck.

Interestingly, Toyota's and GM's comments are contradicted by India's Mahindra & Mahindra, which intends to sell a diesel hybrid version of its upcoming Appalachian mid-size pickup in the United States by 2010.

Diesel engine costs rose last year as new federal 'Tier 2 Bin 5' regulations required the addition of diesel particulate filters to reduce soot emissions by 90% from 2006 levels. 2008 model year Ford F-Series Super Duty pickups saw their diesel hardware costs rise by $1,500. Prices are expected to climb again in 2010 as Ford and GM add new equipment to scrub nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. Chrysler's Cummins diesel powered Dodge Ram already meets 2010 NOx levels.

Hybrid costs can be attributed to expensive battery packs and electric motors that need to be integrated with internal combustion engines.

In January 2008, during the Detroit Auto Show, Watanabe-san said the Tundra would add a diesel engine option by 2010. We're expecting it will be a US version of the 4.5-liter D-4D Hino diesel already offered overseas in the new Toyota Land Cruiser, based on the Tundra's body-on-frame platform.

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