While third-party operations have electrified Toyota vehicles for similar uses in the past, including the ‘ZED70’ developed by Adelaide company Zero Automotive in 2019, this latest project is believed to be the first of its type developed in-house by Toyota.
Converted to battery electric power by the carmaker’s local Product Planning and Development Division, the electric 70 Series single cab ute will be trialed by BHP’s Nickel West operations, specifically at their Cliffs and Leinster underground nickel mines located in central Western Australia.
Toyota Australia's President and CEO Matthew Callachor said BHP’s trial of the electric 70 Series is another step in the carmaker’s move toward a zero emissions future.
"BHP and Toyota have demonstrated a strong relationship throughout the last 20 years, and this project is a great testament to how we can both work together as leading companies in our respective industries to change the future," Callachor said.
Edgar Basto, President, Minerals Australia, BHP, added: "This partnership is another step in our ongoing studies into how we can reduce the emissions intensity of our light-vehicle fleet.
“Reducing reliance on diesel at our operations will help achieve our medium-term target of reducing operational emissions by 30 per cent by 2030."
Images presented so far indicate the 70 Series four-wheel system has been retained and show a recharge socket where the snorkel would normally be located, but no details on the vehicle’s specification, including motor and battery type, range, performance or recharge time, have been released. Toyota says more information will be provided in the coming months, presumably following completion of the BHP trial.