- Toyota unveils a large number of electric concepts.
- We spy a Tacoma-like EV pickup in Toyota's future.
- A new electric FJ Cruiser might be offered as well.
After taking a back seat in electric vehicle production — allowing manufacturers like Tesla, Hyundai, Kia, Ford and many others to beat it to the punch — Toyota is finally unveiling a complete slate of EVs. First to bat will be the 2023 Toyota bZ4X, a small crossover with specs that are, frankly, a little underwhelming. But Toyota's EV future might look a little brighter thanks to a few new concepts unveiled by global president Akio Toyoda. When the curtain dropped on the full lineup of concepts, our eyes were immediately drawn to what looks like an electric version of the Toyota Tacoma. Read on to see our predictions for this hotly anticipated pickup.
Last redesigned six years ago, the Tacoma is due for a complete makeover. An all-electric, or at least electrified, version of Toyota's popular midsize truck would be a major win. Though Toyota was quiet about specifics about this concept, we do have a few things to go on. It has knobby off-road tires, lots of ground clearance, and a crew-cab configuration with a relatively short bed. It shouts "TRD Pro" to our eyes.
So, does this concept preview another trim level of the Toyota Tacoma? Is it an in-between model that could slot above the Tacoma and below the Tundra? Toyota hasn't said yet. With the vast amount of interest in new and upcoming electric trucks like the Rivian R1T, Ford F-150 Lightning, Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Sierra EV and Tesla Cybertruck, an electric Toyota pickup is almost a sure bet.
Toyota has been good about offering a range of powertrains across its vehicle lineup, and we think the next Tacoma is poised for that sort of thing too. After all, the new 2022 Toyota Tundra paved the way, with its most potent offering incorporating a twin-turbocharged V6 paired to a hybrid system; it develops a massive 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. If a Tacoma was driven by, say, the non-turbocharged V6 hybrid from the Lexus LS 500h, it would make a healthy 354 hp — a higher output than any other midsize pickup.
There were more than a few tantalizing introductions at the press conference, including an expansion to the bZ lineup and several Lexus concepts. The bZ nameplate will expand to include a compact SUV, a midsize sedan and a large three-row SUV. The range of offerings are likely to persuade Toyota die-hards to consider fully electric vehicles.
Of all the other concepts unveiled, we were most excited about a vehicle that Toyota currently calls the Cruiser EV. As you can see, it bears more than a passing resemblance to the FJ Cruiser. In much the way the revival of the Hummer brand has drawn renewed interest in General Motors' EV offerings, the reintroduction of the iconic FJ nameplate might draw in a substantial amount of interest in Toyota's electric lineup.
From an electric interpretation of the FJ Cruiser to an electric pickup truck that looks suspiciously like the Tacoma, Toyota is finally getting serious about the EV future.