To avoid using the word “hybrid” to describe an impending update to its best-selling Hilux pickup truck, Toyota in Australia appears to be exercising to extraordinary lengths.
Obliquely avoiding the word “hybrid” in the media statement, a trademark application for the term “Toyota Kinetic Assist” has been unearthed only a few days after Toyota revealed plans to launch a mild-hybrid Hilux in the Australian market starting in 2024.
The Japanese auto giant seems to be attempting to avoid comparisons with its petrol-hybrid vehicles, including the Prius and Camry Hybrid, which normally provide far superior fuel economy and pollution reductions compared to so-called “mild-hybrid” systems. In a bid to preserve the image it has earned over the past two decades with its petrol-electric hybrid line, Toyota Australia executives have been debating what to title the technology.
The mild-hybrid system is anticipated to only cut fuel use by 10%, in contrast to the majority of Toyota petrol-hybrid vehicles, which can lower fuel consumption by as much as 50% when compared to non-hybrid models. The ability to operate in pure electric mode at low speeds is another feature of hybrid vehicles, whereas mild hybrids only offer electric assistance during acceleration, which is comparable to a strong artificial tailwind.
Interestingly, the World Rally Championship race in Kenya this week saw the world debut of a prototype Hilux with a giant ‘HYBRID’ sticker along the sides, so it appears other Toyota around the world may not have the same concerns as it has in Australia. The Japanese automaker is yet to officially use ‘Toyota Kinetic Assist’, but it seems the name could be used to reference the 48-volt mild-hybrid system in the electrified Hilux due to arrive in the Australian showrooms in early 2024.
A computer animation professional with over 23 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations, TV channels & production facilities in Pakistan. An avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver quality content to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com