GB Auto to sell Toyota LandCruiser and HiLux EV kits

Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series and HiLux utes will soon be quietly whirring around Australian mine sites as GB Auto inks a deal to distribute electric conversion kits.

3 months ago
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William Stopford
Journalist

Soon, some of the Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series and HiLux utes you hear won’t be producing that distinctive diesel clatter.

New South Wales-based GB Auto has signed an agreement with Dutch company Tembo for the exclusive distribution rights to electric conversion kits for the 70 Series and HiLux.

GB Auto says the deal is worth US$250 million (A$326 million) and will involve the purchase of 500 Tembo 4×4 e-LV kits in the first year of the seven-year term.

The Australian company has also committed to ordering 2000 kits in the first four years of the agreement.

The first vehicle deliveries are scheduled for mid-2021 and are intended for use in the mines.

Tembo is a subsidiary of VivoPower, who’ll be GB Auto’s partner in financing, building and maintaining related charging infrastructure, battery storage and micro-grids.

VivoPower will maintain and own all operating data in the Tembo products and will grant GB Auto a licence to use the data for sales and servicing purposes.

The tie-up will see GB Auto distribute the next-generation 72kWh battery kit for the LandCruiser 70 Series and HiLux.

The company has already deployed pilot vehicles in various Australian mines.

The Tembo 4×4 e-LV currently produces 110kW of power and 250Nm of torque in its most powerful specification.

The battery pack can be mounted under the bonnet, inside the chassis, or where the fuel tank would be in a stock LandCruiser.

Its 22kW charger can be adapted to run on three-phase power from 208V to 600V and, according to Tembo, the 4×4 e-LV’s minimum range is 50km off-road and 100km on-road depending on the battery pack chosen.

The electric drivetrain of Tembo utes is completely sealed and waterproof and, with IP67 ingress ratings on vital parts such as the inverter and all electric connections, Tembo says one of the converted 4×4 e-LV utes can theoretically run under water.

Inside, there’s a fully digital instrument cluster that displays, among other information, the temperature of the battery and electric motor as well as the charging and regeneration status.

Tembo isn’t the only company engineering and testing LandCruiser EVs.

Toyota and mining giant BHP recently teamed up to test a 70 Series ute in BHP mines.

The electric single-cab LandCruiser ute, dubbed the Workhorse EV, has been converted from turbo-diesel to pure-electric power by Toyota in Port Melbourne.

MORE: Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series news, reviews, comparisons and videos
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