Japanese automaker Toyota is benchmarking the all-electric Tesla Cybertruck, GMC Hummer EV, and Ford F-150 Lightning, possibly as part of a development program that could result in a Toyota-branded EV pickup, according to Motrolix, which quotes sources within the automaker’s development team.
The three American-made electric trucks are being put through their paces at two Toyota campuses in the United States, Motrolix writes, with various departments taking turns evaluating the battery-powered pickups.
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Toyota is testing the electric pickup waters
Toyota, which has been under fire for its feet-dragging approach to embracing an all-electric lineup, is reportedly benchmarking three full-size electric pickups at some of its U.S.-based campuses. The Japanese automaker is currently selling just two EVs here, the bZ4x and Lexus RZ crossovers, but its future plans include many more battery-powered cars.
There’s been talk of a Toyota-made electric work truck for about half a decade, but the Nippon automaker hasn’t yet pulled the trigger. A Tundra-like mid-size EV concept was shown at the end of 2021, followed by the Hilux Revo BEV concept a year later.
The end of 2023 saw the reveal of yet another electric truck concept in the shape of the rather stylish EPU compact pickup, which was revealed at the Japan Mobility Show and looked to be the most production-ready out of all the Toyota concepts.
The EPU is very much a compact pickup by American standards, while the Cybertruck, Hummer EV, and F-150 Lightning are much larger, being closer in size to Toyota’s Tundra than to Ford’s Maverick.
Coincidence or not, the Rivian R1T–which is considered a mid-size pickup–is missing from the list of electric trucks benchmarked by Toyota, which in our eyes means the Japanese auto giant has its crosshair set on the big truck segment.
That said, there’s no official word from Toyota on this, so it’s best taken with a grain of salt. The Nippon maker is investing heavily in its next generation of EVs which will include an American-made three-row SUV built in Kentucky. As for the more commercially oriented vehicles, Toyota recently said it will give the customers what they want, at least until regulation decides otherwise. This includes diesel-powered trucks in places like Australia and Europe, and none of the publicly known plans mentioned in the past had any reference to an electric pickup meant for the U.S. market.
However, that doesn’t mean that plans are set in stone and can’t change if there’s an opportunity to make money.
But what do you think? Would you consider an all-electric Toyota pickup if it made its way stateside? Let us know in the comments.