It appears Toyota Australia could be in the verge of testing the electric HiLux Revo (BEV) concept locally, or at least using it for local events, as a prototype has just been spotted on the ports in Perth.
Toyota unveiled the electric ute in concept form in Thailand late last year, as a single-cab prototype called the HiLux Revo BEV. It was unveiled as part of 60th anniversary celebrations for Toyota Thailand. At the time, very little was outlined in terms of the specifications or the intensions of the ute.
The concept was unveiled by Toyota’s then president and now chairman, Akio Toyoda, and it was presented with another pickup truck concept called the IMV 0. He addressed the crowd, saying:
“Introducing the all new, IMV 0 concept and our all new Hilux Revo BEV concept. Between them, they represent two different ends of the automotive spectrum for different needs and different customers – one designed to support economic growth and mobility for all, and one designed to support carbon neutrality and a better environment for all.”
No specification details have since surfaced on the BEV HiLux, not officially anyway. But it obviously takes the shape of the current-gen model only it features a filled-in front grille in typical EV form. Images of the prototype in Perth, posted onto Facebook, also confirm a CCS2 and Type 2 plug socket, suggesting it can take AC and DC power.
Toyota has not specifically outlined a firm plan to transition to a fully electric lineup, unlike many carmakers. Instead, it seems to be exploring other avenues to see if there is a better long-term solution that’s also more viable than simply switching to EVs. At the original unveiling, Toyoda said:
“I am often criticised in the press because I won’t declare that the automotive industry should commit 100 per cent to BEV. I believe we need to be realistic about when society will be able to fully adopt battery electric vehicles and when our infrastructure can support them at scale.”
It’s believed this concept/prototype is in Australia for local showcase purposes. And being in Western Australia, we’re guessing it might be shown to mining groups and to associated circles. However, there is a chance the company is looking to do some local testing with it in Aussie conditions as well.
A production version has not been officially confirmed, but, Toyota Australia is launching a mild-hybrid HiLux next year. Toyota, on a global scale, has previously announced that all of its core model lines will be available with electrified technology by around 2025. That includes hybrids and mild-hybrids, as well as hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. At this stage, the president is not about to jump on board the EV bandwagon. In December, he said:
“Because just like the fully autonomous cars that we were all supposed to be driving by now, I think BEVs are just going to take longer to become mainstream than the media would like us to believe. And frankly, BEVs are not the only way to achieve the world’s carbon neutrality goals. Personally, I would rather pursue every option, not just one,―options such as emission-free synthetic fuels and hydrogen.”
A local company called Roev is planning EV conversion packages for the Toyota HiLux, based in Melbourne. According to a Drive report from January, the company had already taken in 500 orders for the conversion kit. The conversion apparently costs around $50,000-60,000, excluding the price of the original HiLux.
We reached out to Toyota Australia for more details on what this concept is doing here, and we’ll update this story with any more info. UPDATE: A Toyota Australia spokesperson has responded and said:
“Given the popularity of HiLux in Australia, we are grateful our parent company agreed to send this concept car here for internal review. BEVs are one of multiple options Toyota is examining and developing globally to help our customers on their journey to carbon neutrality, leaving no-one behind.”