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Next Isuzu D-Max could adopt electric truck power

An electric Isuzu D-Max ute is a step closer to reality after its truck division unveiled a battery-powered option for the company's iconic 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine.

At the Brisbane Truck Show last week, Isuzu Trucks Australia – a separate entity to Isuzu Ute Australia, which sells the D-Max ute and MU-X SUV – revealed its first model to be powered by an electric motor, a new option for the N Series EV light-duty truck.

The electric motor – which Isuzu claims can has peak outputs of 110kW to 150kW and 370Nm – is mounted behind the truck’s cab and sends drive to the rear wheels through a traditional driveshaft and differential assembly.

While the Isuzu N Series light-duty truck and the Isuzu D-Max ute may appear to have nothing in common, they share a closely-related 3.0-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder engine.

 

Powering the Isuzu N Series is the ‘4JJ1’ four-cylinder turbo-diesel diesel engine, previously found in the D-Max from 2006 until 2020 (also found in certain variants of the Holden Rodeo and Colorado), and considered to be the predecessor to the ‘4JJ3’ engine in the current-generation Isuzu D-Max and MU-X.

Given the truck and ute share similar diesel engines, the electric technology previewed in the new Isuzu N Series could also be used in future versions of the Isuzu D-Max – should Isuzu choose to make its popular ute available with the option of battery power.

While executives from Isuzu’s truck and ute divisions told Drive an electric D-Max is not currently in the works, they acknowledged it could be technically possible to use the truck division's electric tech on future utes.

However, there are a number of hurdles to overcome before an electric Isuzu D-Max makes it to local showrooms.

The batteries which power the Isuzu N Series EV are packaged in 20kWh modules which resemble the shape and size of truck fuel tanks – rather than the slim and wide batteries found in most electric cars, which means the battery packs may need to be redesigned before being fitted to a ute.

While the top-of-the-range Isuzu D-Max develops 140kW and 450Nm from its 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine, the peak outputs for the electric motor in the Isuzu N Series EV are 150kW and 370Nm – representing a modest power gain but a deficit in torque compared to the ute.

Price could be another hurdle to overcome. For example, the LDV eT60 – the only electric ute on sale in Australia – costs more than twice the price of the most expensive diesel-powered LDV T60, which starts from $92,990 plus on-road costs.

Much of the price difference between the two variants is attributed to the raw material costs of an electric-car battery, which could continue to rise as demand for lithium starts to overtake supply.

Source: Drive Australia

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