A mysterious concept car revealed in Thailand offers a peek under the curtain at how an EV version of Australia’s best-selling car might look.
Toyota Motors gave a surprise preview of its first battery electric pickup, aptly named Hilux Revo BEV, as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of its Thai branch.
The place and timing of the electric Hilux suggest that Toyota’s debut electric truck could be launched for the Asian market first before its eventual release.
Toyota did flash a pickup among the multitude of about 30 concept vehicles when it announced its EV strategy last year, but it was in a rendered form, whereas the Hilux Revo was present on stage with Toyota’s president Akio Toyoda complete with low-profile tyres and a formidable wing over the truck’s rear.
Toyoda kept mum on details like price and specs, but he did reiterate that complete and rapid electrification may not be the only way to go about sustainable transportation, and that it may even do more harm than good when rushed.
“I am often criticised in the press because I won’t declare that the automotive industry should commit 100% to BEV,” Toyoda said.
“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. 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, Toyoda would rather pursue every option, not just one, such as emission-free synthetic fuels and hydrogen.
“I still believe hydrogen is as promising a technology for our future as BEV,” he said.
Toyota has been at the forefront of hybrid and hydrogen vehicle technology for a while now, so it is perfectly aware of all the sustainability challenges that the current rapid electrification push entails.
The world’s largest carmaker may be brought kicking and screaming to the new era. However, as it is reportedly on the cusp of a thorough EV strategy overhaul that may see some of the vehicles it teased in the beginning chucked, and new ones introduced that will be conceived and produced with electric powertrains in mind from the get-go.