Toyota is planning to test a fleet of all-electric pickups—not in pickup-obsessed America, or its home Japan, but in Thailand, where versions of the Toyota HiLux pickup are built for many regions of the world.
Development of the electric HiLux was done in Thailand, but taps into decades of Toyota EV tech.
Called the HiLux Revo BEV Concept, but far from a concept vehicle, this electric HiLiux conversion has its motor at the rear wheels, with a DeDion rear axle and leaf springs—a layout that allows some better ride and handling than a live axle alone. The battery pack is tucked between the frame rails.
Output numbers and specifications for the battery pack or propulsion system haven’t been released. The truck reportedly has a range of just 124 to143 miles (200-230 km)—which might prove just fine for its intended city and suburban fleet use.
In a press release, Sean Hanley, a top Toyota Australia executive, called it a “city-focused HiLux BEV,” and while it’s officially a concept vehicle, he said it “looks, feels, and drives like a production model.”
In the past several days, a few select Australian outlets were allowed to drive the electric truck and found it to be plenty perky—even though 0-60 mph acceleration is somewhere in the 10-second range—as well as quiet in a way other versions of this compact truck family likely aren’t. It’s no Ludicrous-mode rocket, but it’s a modest, intriguing, tailpipe-emissions-free way to add accessories or upfits and get work done.
However, this truck is almost certainly not U.S.-bound. The HiLux used to be related to the U.S. Tacoma, but the two trucks no longer have any key dimensions in common and ride on different platforms. A 2024 Toyota Tacoma hybrid is on the way as part of a new 2024 Tacoma lineup to be built soon in Mexico, with the hybrid getting i-Force Max badging and configured to be the workhorse of the lineup with strong capability for towing and hauling.
Inside, the HiLux BEV looks quite basic, but subs in a rotary shift selector like that in the BZ4X, along with an electric parking brake and an EV-focused gauge cluster.
According to Carsales, an Australian site that provided a good summation of this basic electric truck, the HiLux BEV was brought to Australia as part of a dealer conference. The HiLux is the bestselling vehicle in Australia, according to Toyota.
While this might not be Toyota’s U.S.-bound electric pickup, there will be one. In 2021, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. clearly laid out: “Toyota intends to bring electrification to its pickup truck lineup in the near future, including hybrid and BEV powertrains.”
In the U.S., Toyota maintained, up until 2019 or later, that its dealerships were simply not asking for EVs. And more recently, it’s said that U.S.-bound Toyota EVs will aim for affordability above other priorities.
That said, it may be missing something in not bringing an electric pickup to the U.S. soon, whether it takes the form of this basic HiLux EV or a more capable Tacoma EV. A November 2022 Autolist study found that the Tacoma EV—a truck that doesn’t exist—was named the top electric pickup among Millennials in a cohort that included the Tesla Cybertruck, Rivian R1T, Ford F-150 Lightning and several others.
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