Toyota ‘launches’ electric Hilux in Thailand

Toyota has debuted, but not debuted, an electric version of its popular Hilux pickup in Thailand. Little is known about the specs, with Toyota Thailand glossing over battery size and power output details in a launch that was, to say the least, low-key.

The assembled press corps was able to enjoy schmaltzy speeches and powerpoints from teary-eyed executives, without the distraction of any actual vehicles on show, just a couple of unconvincing mock-ups of something called the Hilux Revo BEV Concept, which resembles the dullest, orthodox pick up imaginable. It is close to impossible to conceive of a less inspiring vehicle.

Electric vehicle specialist outlet InsideEVs seem to know more about the vehicle than Toyota does, and has some more picture of the pickup, which show it to be a boring single-cab model, almost identical to its planet-killing diesel cousins.

Changes on the outside are nothing more than a standard set of so-called upgrades with no purpose other than to make previous models look out of date – in this case, a new grille, badge, and charging port on the passenger side behind the front wheel.

Toyota Showcases Electric Hilux Concept In Thailand
Toyota attempts to change the course of automotive history with a soft focus, a new badge and a charging port.

The smart money reckons that the Hilux may use tech scavenged from the bZ4X SUV. That’s a 71.4kWh battery with 500km of range in two-wheel drive and 460km in all-wheel drive. This is paired with either a 150kW single-motor set-up or a 160kWh dual-motor set-up.

The Toyota bZ4X is a new electric SUV concept | Top Gear
The Hilux EV is expected to make use of tech developed for the bZ4X SUV.

The production hub for the Hilux is in Thailand, which explains why Toyota launched the electric Hilux here —that and the fact Toyota Thailand is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Toyota chief executive and president Akio Toyoda managed to produce plenty of PR hogwash at the launch, thanking “Thailand” for its contribution to the brand.

Toyoda gushed…

“For me, the Hilux Vigo launch remains one of the fondest memories of my career. So as a way of saying thank you, I decided to create a brand new IMV pick-up for Thailand.

“It’s the people of Thailand who are most responsible for the celebration we are enjoying today, and I would like to thank them today from the bottom of my heart.

“It’s not about how many cars we’ve sold here, because we want to contribute more to this country than just cars. We want to help foster economic opportunity.”

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The uninspiring launch of some fibreglass shells comes in the same week as Automotive News Europe reported that Toyota is accelerating EV production to compete with Tesla and BYD. With Tesla sales tanking, it’s hardly a great challenge.

Toyota is currently shuffling around its project calendar, and is even considering shelving its current dedicated EV e-TNGA platform in favour of developing a new ‘skateboard’ architecture.

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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.