Toyota shows off its first battery electric pickup truck, but will it be sold in the US?

Toyota Motors unveiled its first battery electric vehicle (BEV) pickup truck this week in Thailand. The EV prototype is generating interest among buyers and looks street-ready, but buyers are asking, will Toyota sell its electric pickup in the US?

Will Toyota’s electric pickup truck make its way to the US?

At its 60th Anniversary of operations in Thailand, Toyota revealed the Hilux Revo BEV prototype, its first fully electric pickup truck.

Since the EV truck is built for consumers in Thailand, it’s designed to serve a different purpose. Thai drivers often prefer a versatile pickup that can do it all with a mix of passenger and cargo space.

Looking at images of the Hilux Revo BEV, you can tell it’s designed for the Thai market. Toyota’s EV pickup looks to be in the mid-size range, with a single cab and extended bed. In addition, you can see details indicating it’s built for work with tie-down hooks on the outside of the bed rails.

The electric pickup closely resembles its Hilux truck line, but of course, without the diesel engine. The Thai market is dominated by pickup trucks, where Toyota’s gas-powered Hilux Revo trucks are a top contender.

Thailand is Toyota’s fourth-highest production center globally, behind Japan, China, and the US.

Although Toyota didn’t offer specifications, the EV pickup features a charging port on the front left fender. Toyota’s CEO, Mr. Akio Toyoda, said at the event that the electric pickup is “designed to support carbon neutrality and a better environment for all.”

Toyota Hilux Revo BEV Concept Source: Toyota Motor

As for US customers, I wouldn’t get my hopes up for the electric vehicle to make its way here. The company’s CEO reiterated its hybrid approach going forward, claiming:

At Toyota we believe in creating a full portfolio of carbon reducing choices for our customers from hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in electric vehicles, battery electric cars, and fuel cell vehicles. Also, we are pursuing hydrogen fuel options like these GR-Yaris and GR-Corolla hydrogen powered concept cars. As we work to achieve a sustainable future, I also believe we need to take a holistic approach to carbon neutrality.

He added:

 I am often criticized in the press because I won’t declare that the automotive industry should commit 100% to BEV. I believe we need to be realistic about when society will be able to fully adopt Battery Electric Vehicles and when our infrastructure can support them at scale.

Toyota has a long history of lobbying against going fully electric. Despite this, the world’s largest automaker has made several initiatives to better compete in the EV market in the past several months.

Electrek’s Take

Toyota releasing an electric pickup in Thailand makes sense because of the market. However, what doesn’t make sense is Toyota’s comments about electric vehicle adoption.

Top comment by OV

Liked by 10 people

Something Electrek haven't reported on is that Toyota have won a load of funding to develop a hydrogen fuel cell Hilux in the UK. Given that the F150 Lightning - a larger truck that is a tougher application for batteries - exists and has been generally very successful, Toyota's FCV project seems like folly. Given that Toyota have been throwing their toys out of the pram over the UK government's BEV strategy and threatening the Derby factory in the UK, this strikes me as a ~£7m bribe from the government to shut up and not create negative publicity for them. A FCV Hilux is very unlikely to be successful, and I fear that Toyota will start making a fuss again in 5 years' time, but the current government is so image-focused that I can only see short-term 'avoid negative press' thinking. It's a shame.

Also, I'd like to add a pointless 'preaching to the choir' gripe about Toyota's claimed BEV plan. You need to start building and selling BEVs before public infrastructure is ready. EV buying demographics are shifting away from the true early adopters to the adventurous end of the mainstream market. There's enough home & workplace charging, and the public infrastructure is getting good enough, that waiting another 3 years will leave Toyota with their pants down.

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The US has around 140,000 public electric vehicle chargers and is building a national network of chargers through its NEVI program. The program includes investing $5 billion over five years to build the EV charging network, particularly along the Interstate Highway System. As of September, all 50 states have approved plans covering 75,000 miles of highway.

Tesla, Ford, GM, Hyundai, and essentially every automaker at this point has proven electric vehicles work, and perhaps more importantly, consumers are demanding them.

Instead of trying to have its hand in all different types of technology, Toyota would seemingly be better off committing to developing a reliable mass-market electric vehicle, which the company has expressed interest in developing a dedicated EV platform recently.

Although Toyota teased an electric pickup for the US market in 2021 after unveiling a new EV plan, the company has not mentioned anything since, and it’s not likely this will be the one.

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Avatar for Peter Johnson Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson is covering the auto industry’s step-by-step transformation to electric vehicles. He is an experienced investor, financial writer, and EV enthusiast. His enthusiasm for electric vehicles, primarily Tesla, is a significant reason he pursued a career in investments. If he isn’t telling you about his latest 10K findings, you can find him enjoying the outdoors or exercising