Toyota has been seen as a laggard and skeptic on battery electric vehicles, mainly focusing on hybrids. And a promise to be carbon neutral by 2050 — around when the Biden administration wants the United States to be carbon neutral — doesn’t sound wildly ambitious. But Toyota is coming around on the EV front.
The company just unveiled its bZ4X electric SUV concept, which looks a lot like an electric RAV4 and should arrive in production form next year. But an even more exciting development noted in the release is that Toyota will develop an electric pickup truck as part of its broader electrification plans. No word yet on when that electric truck will arrive or in what form.
Toyota building an electric truck is not a complete surprise. Previous reporting suggested that Toyota would offer a hybrid option for each model by 2025, including trucks and truck-based off-roaders. That entire lineup is due to be overhauled before 2025 on a new TNGA truck platform, beginning with the all-new Tundra arriving later this year.
If Toyota plans to compete with the big three, an electric truck is where the market is heading. Ford has an electric version of the F-150 coming soon. Chevy recently announced it will build an electric Silverado. GM also has the Hummer SUT. Rivian’s R1T and Tesla’s Cybertruck will also be competing for electric truck buyers.
Hybrids and battery electric vehicles should bring Toyota’s off-roader lineup into a whole new era. The brand’s foremost (and perhaps only) weakness with those cars has been fuel economy. The Land Cruiser, Sequoia and current-gen Tundra are among the worst polluting vehicles you can buy. And the 4Runner and Tacoma are not much better.
Even Toyota bringing those vehicles up to modern combustion powertrains would be a substantial efficiency improvement. Hybrids and electric versions of those off-roaders should be a great leap forward.