Toyota Australia: People don’t want plug-in hybrids

Local division says buyers want their cars to feel normal, something you don’t get from a plug-in.

Toyota Australia is in no hurry to bring plug-in hybrid vehicles Down Under, arguing punters want the “normality” offered by its current approach to electrification.

As announced last week, the brand will expand its current hybrid range from five to 10 vehicles by 2020 in Australia, as it looks to capitalise on the momentum created by the strong-selling Corolla and Camry hybrids.

At the moment, hybrids account for around 40 per cent of new Corolla and almost 50 per cent of Camry sales, with Toyota vice president  of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, arguing “people want the normality of a normal hybrid” instead of a plug-in power.

Although it offers a plug-in hybrid Prius Prime overseas, Toyota has staunchly refused to bring it Down Under. That doesn’t mean we won’t eventually see plug-in Toyotas in Australia. Hanley says pure-electric vehicles will be offered locally by 2030, and committed to pioneering hydrogen technology.

Toyota announced a hydrogen trial earlier this week in partnership with the Hobson’s Bay City Council. It’s reliant on a hydrogen truck parked in Altona at the moment, given the current lack of infrastructure, but the findings will inform Toyota on what’s required to make hydrogen fleets work.