More power, higher efficiency for Toyota’s Corolla Commercial hybrid electric van

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Toyota have introduced the benefits of its wider Corolla range updates to the UK-exclusive Corolla Commercial, the market’s first self-charging full-hybrid electric van. The updated 2023 model matches its Hatchback and Touring Sports passenger car counterparts in adopting Toyota’s new fifth generation hybrid technology. The upgraded 1.8-litre powertrain delivers more power, faster acceleration and a more rewarding drive while maintaining the van’s high fuel and emissions efficiency. The system’s principal components have been comprehensively redesigned to save weight, reduce losses, and improve performance – changes that include the introduction of a more powerful lithium-ion battery.

Corolla Commercial further gains the latest Toyota Safety Sense package of advanced safety and driver assistance systems, with more functions and increased hazard detection capabilities. The van’s useful load-carrying qualities are undiminished, with 1,326 litres of load space, the ability to carry a 425kg payload and tow up to 750kg. The conversion from Corolla Touring Sports to Commercial includes a rubber load space lining, full bulkhead grille, interior light and 12v power outlet – work that is carried out by Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK in the Business Revenue Centre at its Burnaston car plant in Derbyshire. Corolla’s “home grown” quality also includes an engine supplied by the TMUK Deeside factory in North Wales.

The fifth generation of Toyota’s self-charging full hybrid electric technology is the heart of the new Corolla Commercial. Detailed engineering and design changes deliver a better driving experience, higher performance, and improved efficiency. The changes include new power control unit and transaxle designs, a more powerful lithium-ion battery and calibration to achieve a more rewarding driving experience with a closer relationship between the driver’s use of the accelerator and the drive force delivery. Total power from the 1.8-litre system is 138bhp, bringing a 1.7-second reduction in the 0-62mph time to 9.4 seconds. CO2 emissions are from 100g/km, with fuel economy from 64.2mpg (all figures WLTP combined cycle).
A new power control unit (PCU) helps reduce the level of electrical losses in the system (-14 per cent) and maintain fuel efficiency. The unit has a new double-sided cooling system and runs at a higher frequency, reducing its noise level.

The new lithium-ion hybrid battery is smaller and lighter but has a higher output – qualities that contribute to both the car’s dynamic performance and its fuel efficiency. Compared to the battery deployed in the previous system, weight has been reduced by 14 per cent while power output has increased by 14 per cent. Toyota has optimised the battery’s cooling path to help prevent deterioration caused by temperature fluctuations and preserve battery life.

Corolla Commercial can help small enterprises and sole traders meet the need to reduce carbon emissions without compromising the flexibility and reliability they require. Toyota’s full hybrid electric system gives a generous all- electric driving capability that’s ideal for urban deliveries, while ensuring there’s always the freedom to make longer trips whenever required, with no need to schedule down-time for recharging.

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With over two-decades experience in magazine and book publishing, Wesley has recently started with Mark Allen Group as editor of Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International.

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