Isuzu will still offer diesel powertrains for models like D-Max, MU-X and the N Series light truck, at least in the medium term, as it believes the oil-burning powertrain still has a place in a quickly electrifying world.

Speaking to CarsGuide at this year’s Japan Mobility Show, Isuzu Motors Limited Vice-President of Corporate Strategy Division, Konstantin Kriegelsteiner, said it was impossible to put an end date on diesel engines.

“You can’t really put a timeframe on that (death of diesel) because it depends on the market,” he said.

“We still believe in the potential of diesel as well, you could have e-fuels and some applications – rural applications, emergency applications – you can’t rely on a network that isn’t stable yet.”

This stands in stark contrast to many brands who are quickly ditching diesel in favour of more efficient and less pollutant petrol engines, as well as electrification technologies like hybridsplug-in hybrids and full battery electric powertrains.

For example, Jeep Australia has recently removed all diesel options from its line-up, with the Gladiator dual-cab ute powered exclusively by a 3.6-litre petrol V6, and the most rugged and capable Grand Cherokee now featuring a plug-in hybrid set-up.

However, most other dual-cab ute competitors like the Toyota HiLuxFord RangerNissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton are all sticking with diesel power for now, with the aim to have an electrified variant in market from 2025.

Isuzu too, is targeting a 2025 release date for its electric D-Max, though overseas markets like Thailand and Europe will likely take precedence over the smaller volume Australia.

But Kriegelsteiner would not deny the appeal of a diesel powertrain, especially in a market with unique geographical requirements like Australia.

“Diesel is proven technology; if you are out in the Outback, you don’t want to be stranded with a battery, right?

“But fuel, for the time being, you will always have,” he said.

“So that’s why we have a multi-modal approach, we believe in basically giving the customers what’s best fit for their application, and that can be diesel, but of course we will try to electrify as much as possible [too].”

On the Isuzu Trucks front, the division believes diesel will still have significant market share until around 2040, wherein options including battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs) will become much more viable alternatives.

However, it’s projections also place carbon-neutral fuels – of which diesel could be a part of – still accounts for a noticeable, albeit small, slice of the market up until 2050.

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