The expertise of Toyota Australia engineers was recently sought for feedback on a fully-electric HiLux concept. Built by Toyota Motor Corporation’s Thailand operations, the one-off ‘Revo Concept’ BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) single cab ute was but sent here for evaluation by Toyota Australia’s experienced local engineers and industry partners.
Amid global plans to electrify Toyota’s commercial vehicles, information gained from the local testing of the Revo Concept will be put to use by Toyota Thailand in the assembly of a demonstration fleet of HiLux-based electric share taxis for their market.
Toyota Australia Vice President Sales, Marketing & Franchise Operations Sean Hanley said the HiLux Revo Concept confirmed that Toyota was far more advanced in developing battery-electric vehicles than most people appreciated.
“Our evaluation engineers and industry partners have confirmed that this city-focused HiLux BEV – while very much a concept vehicle – looks, feels and drives like a production model,” Hanley said.
“I’ve also had the opportunity to drive it – and it’s clear the concept vehicle’s all-electric powertrain delivers the impressive torque you’d normally expect from a diesel engine.
“It is further evidence of the broad scope of Toyota’s multi-path strategy for achieving carbon-free mobility, applying different powertrain solutions to suit different user needs and operating environments worldwide.”
Hanley added that Toyota Australia was optimistic about the prospects of a city-focused HiLux BEV and would be keen to bring any such vehicle here.
“Under the skin, this vehicle is powered by Toyota’s EV-related technologies developed over more than a quarter of a century, including batteries, motors, inverters and power-control units.
“It’s a strong indicator of Toyota’s determination to overcome the challenges of electrifying our commercial vehicles, ensuring there are multiple options that can meet the expectations of end users.”
The HiLux Revo Concept collaboration is the latest chapter in Toyota’s Thai-Australian relationship that most recently produced the HiLux GR Sport. However, if a HiLux BEV ute comes to Australia, it won’t be a trailblazer. Chinese manufacturer LDV brought the fully-electric eT60 here in 2022 and plan to release a more powerful version this year.
With sales of just over 61,000 in 2023 and more than 64,000 in 2022, the HiLux has been Australia’s top-selling new car (even though it’s a ute) since 2016 and was only dethroned by the Ford Ranger last year. The HiLux is even more popular in Thailand, where sales exceeded 145,000 in 2022.
In addition to the HiLux, Thailand also builds just about every HiLux competitor, including the Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, Mazda BT-50, Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton. As such, Thailand can rightly claim to be the “ute capital” of the automotive world.