What we know about the Toyota Tacoma EV pickup truck [Update]

While the media was cautiously speculating on a first-ever Toyota Tacoma Hybrid, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has fueled the fire unveiling the ‘Pickup EV’ concept that looks like a production-intent Toyota Tacoma EV. It was at Auto Shanghai 2021 (April 2021) that TMC confirmed that an electric pickup truck was part of its future lineup. The presentation of the Pickup EV concept in the BEV strategy announcement on 14 December 2021 in Japan indicates that Toyota was referring to a Tacoma Electric version to make a segment entry.

Design

The Toyota Tacoma EV looks similar to the gas-powered model, but several visual changes set it apart. It features sharper headlamps with a vertical extension, and the new Tundra has influenced the design. There’s a closed-off hexagonal radiator grille with honeycomb-shaped surfaces on the panel between the headlamps. The horizontal LED fog light bars below the faux radiator grille also look like they originated on the 2022 Tundra. Save for unique styling parts, the basic exterior looks more or less the same.

The Tacoma EV appears to sit quite high from the tarmac. The ground clearance could be around 10 inches, which would put it in the same territory as the Tundra! The design team seems to have wrapped the six-double-spoke alloy wheels in 33-35 inch off-road tires. The approach angle also looks ready for the trail. Like in the case of the Ford and Chevrolet EV pickups, expect the Toyota electric truck to launch in everyday, work and off-road specifications.

The overall design of the concept is very realistic, and the production version should look not so different from what we are seeing.

Lifestyle Electric Vehicle lineup

The Toyota Pickup EV or the Toyota Tacoma EV concept is a part of Toyota’s new lifestyle electric vehicle line-up, which consists of a total of eight models. Simon Humphries, Design Senior General Manager, TMC, briefly explained at the press conference where the company revealed the Toyota Pickup EV concept:

We believe that truly good products create new experiences for the customer, enhancing their chosen lifestyle directions.

Simon Humphries, Design Senior General Manager, Toyota Motor Corporation (Media Briefing on Battery EV Strategies, December 14, 2021)
Toyota lifestyle EV models
Eight lifestyle EVs from the Toyota brand are in the pipeline, and the Tacoma EV is one of them. Image Source: Toyota Motor Corporation

Platform

Toyota hasn’t shared details of the Tacoma EV, but it’s safe to assume that it’ll be a conversion of the next-gen Tacoma, not a pickup engineered as an EV from the beginning like the Rivian R1T or the Chevrolet Silverado EV. TMC has given ample hints about how it will have select EVs developed on modified ICE model platforms:

Each electric vehicle should be unique and special, not only those on dedicated platforms but also those related to existing models, whether that means building on Toyota’s off-road heritage to create new exciting recreational experiences or finding new ways to combine versatility with dynamic driving.

Simon Humphries, Design Senior General Manager, Toyota Motor Corporation (Media Briefing on Battery EV Strategies, December 14, 2021)
Toyota Tacoma EV concept side profile teaser
The Toyota Tacoma EV will likely rival the Ford Ranger EV (to be announced), which arrives closer to 2025. Expect the TNGA-F platform to be modified for EV application. Image Source: Toyota Motor Corporation

Release Date

Given that its donor model (next-gen gas-powered Tacoma) is unlikely to go on sale before the second half of this year and achieve normalized production next year, the Toyota Tacoma EV may not enter showrooms before 2024. At least 300 miles of range and a starting price of well below USD 40,000 would be the general expectation from potential Tacoma EV customers mid-decade. Ford’s introducing a higher-segment electric pickup, the Ford F-150 Lightning, at that base price this spring, followed by General Motors with the Silverado EV WT next spring. The Tacoma EV would rival Ford’s Ranger EV, which could arrive closer to 2025.

Featured Image Source: Toyota Motor Corporation