Although talking about Toyota is talking about hybrids, the Japanese have a part of their range that is very difficult to adapt to electric technologies. The Toyota Hilux and Toyota Land Cruiser are designed and engineered for the toughest environments and jobs. Although other manufacturers have taken the step to electrify models similar to these, as is the case with Rivian or Ford itself (and Tesla later), Toyota seems to want to take another path, Trust in the use of alternative fuels such as HVO100 in order to keep the more traditional diesel range alive while eliminating polluting emissions.
HVO100 is a fuel of mainly vegetable origin produced by Neste in Finland. It stands out for having a higher cetane rating (c80) than standard diesel, as well as a lower content of sulfur and aromatic hydrocarbons. It is made from 100% renewable raw materials and among its components are vegetable oil from palm, rapeseed and recycled waste such as used cooking oil that does not emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Its production is carried out by hydrotreating vegetable oils and/or animal fats.. The result is a high-quality fuel with a chemical composition identical to that of conventional diesel, making it very easy to adapt its use to modern vehicles without modifications.
Its main advantage is its renewable origin, which means that it is neutral in carbon dioxide emissions. The plants from which it is produced have already trapped CO2 during their previous life through photosynthesis. When it is now burned in a combustion engine, CO2 is produced again, but when taking into account its origin and the CO2 fixed by the plants, its emissions are 90% lower than if a conventional diesel were used.
Originally intended for the heavy transport industry, the HVO100 has been tested on trucks throughout the market such as Mercedes, Volvo, MAN or Iveco. Its advantages are more than proven, a vehicle powered by HVO100 reduces the amount of polluting emissions by up to 90%. Synthetic diesel has an ignition index between 70 and 90, while fossil diesel fuels have an index between 50 and 60. This allows it not only to maintain performance but also to increase engine performance.
Toyota is confident that its Land Cruiser and Hilux can continue to live beyond 2035, the year marked by the European Union for the cessation of sales of combustion cars. The only “downside” is that HVO100 is less dense than fossil diesel, which requires a small technical modification to the vehicles. This consists of an adjustment of the injection system to increase the inlet flow. The first Toyota Hilux and Toyota Land Cruiser to benefit from these modifications will roll off the assembly line during the first quarter of next year.
The use of alternative fuels has grown in recent years, mainly thanks to freight transport. As HVO100 customers increase, production and the number of supply points increase. Pumps are becoming more and more common in European service stations. There are already around a thousand in operation in countries such as Belgium, Denmark, Finland or Sweden. The production of this renewable fuel is expected to increase to 15.5 million tons per year in 2030, 26 million tons more than the four million that are produced today. Low demand makes supply scarce and expensive. Toyota expects the price of HVO100 to come down over the years, as it is currently about 20 cents more expensive per liter than conventional diesel.. It is not a crazy price, which allows to house some for the more traditional engines.