When do you think Toyota will release an electric pickup truck in the United States?


The Japanese carmaker is already testing an electric Hilux pickup in Australia. In the United States, though, an electric Tacoma is more likely to be released.

This fall, all eyes will be on the Cybertruck because Tesla is almost ready to start making its long-awaited electric pickup. But Toyota isn’t ignoring this market either, even though the company is still not sure about EVs.

The Japanese company started testing the Hilux BEV Revo in Australia earlier this month. The concept car was first shown in December 2022. Recently, tests were done with local engineers, industry partners, and possible dealers as a way to see how well the model works with teams and dealers before it goes into production later on.

The Hilux BEV Revo Concept is based on a form of the truck that is made in Thailand for the Australia and Oceania markets. It was only made once. You can get it with either a gas or diesel engine, and it looks the same. The only differences are that the grille is closed off, and there is a charge port on the front left fender.

In line with the original Australian meaning, the truck is more of a ute than anything else. In fact, Toyota says that Thailand is the “ute capital of the world” because it sold 145,000 Hilux vehicles in 2022 alone. Australia is a little behind, with only 64,000 sales last year. However, that’s still enough to make the Hilux Australia’s best-selling car.

“Our evaluation engineers and industry partners have confirmed that this city-focused HiLux BEV—while still very much a concept vehicle—looks, feels, and drives like a production model,” said Sean Hanley, vice president of sales, marketing, and franchise operations for Toyota Australia.

Because of the Chicken Tax, any electric truck model for the U.S. would have to be made here as well, which means that a Hilux probably isn’t going to happen. And if past years are any clue, a Tacoma or another model with a battery-electric drivetrain would have to be designed along with the gasoline model. It couldn’t be added to an existing model after the fact. In order for Toyota to sell a mid-size electric pickup in the U.S., it would have to come out around the same time as a new generation of trucks.

Toyota showed off a concept Tacoma EV pickup truck in 2021 and said that a real model was being worked on, but they didn’t give any details or dates at the time. But even when the Hilux REVO concept was shown off last year, Akio Toyoda, the president of Toyota, said that the company would not be making an electric truck right away.

“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,” Toyoda stated in 2022.

I think BEVs will take longer to become popular than the media would like us to believe, just like fully autonomous cars that we were all meant to be driving by now. To be honest, BEVs aren’t the only way to help the world reach its carbon neutrality goals.

The fact that the Tacoma is brand new for 2024 gives us reason to be hopeful. This means that an electric version of it might come out soon, preferably in this product cycle rather than the next. To keep up with the rest of the industry, the electric Tacoma will probably only be built on the pickup with four doors and a short bed.

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