During Toyota Motor Thailand’s 60th anniversary celebration yesterday, the marque’s President and CEO, Akio Toyoda, unveiled not one, but two new pick-up truck concepts as part of its (Innovative International Multi-Purpose Vehicle) IMV pick-up truck portfolio, designed to cover “two different ends of the automotive spectrum for different needs and different customers”.
The first, dubbed internally IMV 0, is a “truly affordable” and versatile pick-up designed to “support economic growth and mobility for all”. It gets a pretty rugged-looking exterior design with a unique flatbed-like truck bed at the rear, although it’s meant to act as a “blank canvas” for owners to customise according to their use cases, ranging from food trucks to delivery vehicles.
No other specifications on the IMV 0 have been revealed just yet, including its powertrain, but Toyoda confirmed that the model will eventually make it into production, despite still being “over a year away”.
For us, however, it’s the second concept that really piqued our interest. It’s called the “Hilux Revo BEV Concept”, and as the name suggests, it’s a fully-electric, battery powered Hilux pick-up truck.
It’s based on the single-cab, workhorse variant of the current Toyota Hilux, with the only visible difference being the new closed-off grille up front, new headlamps, as well as an additional charging port on the front left fender of the pick-up truck.
The ladder frame chassis had to be modified to accommodate the electric powertrain, but aside from mentioning that the Thai engineers had a hand in designing the concept, the company did not reveal any specifics regarding its technical details, nor when – or even if – the concept will eventually become a production vehicle.
Despite the company previously committing to a carbon neutrality target, Toyoda was quick to point out that they still do not think that there’s a “one-size-fits-all approach” to vehicles and powertrains. “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,” he said during the presentation.
“Because just like the fully autonomous cars that we were all supposed to be driving by now, I think BEVs are just going to take longer to become mainstream than the media would like us to believe. And Frankly, BEVs are not the only way to achieve the world’s carbon neutrality goals.
“Personally, I would rather pursue every option, not just one – options such as emission-free synthetic fuels and hydrogen. I still believe Hydrogen is as promising a technology for our future as BEV.”
So what does that mean for the fully-electric Toyota Hilux? Your guess is as good as anyone’s at this point in time. But with most major pick-up makers in the world, including Ford and Ram, all already committing to electric versions in the near future, it seems like it will soon become inevitable for Toyota too.
This also isn’t the first time Toyota has shown off a fully-electric pick-up concept. When the company announced its BEV plans for the decade last year, they’ve also shown off a pick-up EV concept, although that particular model resembles the larger American-market Tundra more than the Hilux.