Toyota's mighty Land Cruiser has always been associated with its off-road 4x4 capability and durability. It has also been used for numerous purposes be it United Nations/Red Cross work in the Middle East or for hauling heavy cargo elsewhere around the world. That said, the Land Cruiser has always been known for its reliable gasoline and diesel engines. But, what if the Land Cruiser was an electric vehicle?
Australian mining company BHP has exactly done that. Instead of a 4.5-liter turbo-diesel V8, the 70-series Land Cruiser was fitted with an electric motor and a set of lithium-ion batteries. The conversion was done by Adelaide-based firm Voltra, and has dubbed the vehicle LandCruiserE.
While the converted Land Cruiser does have an electric heart instead of a diesel-engine, Voltra says it still retains its 4x4 capability. Furthermore, it also gains regenerative braking as an extra feature. That said, specific technical details of the LandCruiserE have yet to be revealed such as power output and other figures. Currently, the vehicle is still a prototype. LandCruiserE will be joining BHP's fleet of mining vehicles, with the company monitoring its performance, power supply, and durability underground.
BHP decided to convert the Land Cruiser into a pure electric vehicle as a way to reduce the carbon impact of their fleet. Doing so would reduce the exposure of diesel air to their staff of around 800 people working at the site. Should the prototype trial prove successful, BHP could look to electrify their entire fleet.
For the time being, Voltra has not revealed the cost to convert a Land Cruiser into electric power. They did mention however, that the costs will likely be reduced by 10- to 20-percent.