Has the Toyota Hybrid Pickup Truck’s Time Arrived? [Op/Ed]

A-BAT_01
Toyota A-BAT Concept

There have been a few recent rumors that the largest automaker is looking to build a Toyota Hybrid Pickup Truck. These are completely unsubstantiated rumors and some speculation on TFLtruck’s part, but a few interesting and tantalizing tidbits have recently crossed our paths. Some of this information came from the same source that insisted that the Honda Pilot would return – and it did. Still, these are murky waters we’re diving into.

Why is the possibly of a Toyota Hybrid Pickup Truck intriguing and even remotely possible? Lots and lots of speculation my friends. ┬áStill, let’s look at the actual facts:

Toyota A-BAT Concept
Toyota A-BAT Concept
    • Toyota is the only automaker selling in the United States that has no diesel or hybrid pickup trucks. As a result of this, and, despite an impressive stable of highly efficient vehicles, Toyota’s CAFE numbers are not that impressive.
    • Despite being sold in limited numbers, General Motors still sells some hybrid trucks. They also feature diesel mid-size trucks, cylinder deactivation and modern transmissions that help make GM one of the more efficient truck-builders.
    • Ram has a 1/2 diesel, Honda has a unit-body, car-like pickup and even Nissan is beginning to enter the diesel game.
    • Several years back (2008), Toyota built the Advanced Breakthrough Aero Truck (A-BAT) concept truck that utilized a hybrid powertrain. This is the truck that’s pictured throughout this post. While no real numbers were known, this concept hinted that Toyota was well into considering the possibilities of such a vehicle.
    • It was speculated that, like the Honda Ridgeline, this vehicle (or one similar to it) would be a utilitarian, light-duty machine that would slot in-between the base-model Toyota Tacoma and the Toyota Prius-V. It might haul as much as 1,200 lbs and tow up to 5,000 lbs.
    • The main selling point would be (potentially) better overall mpg than diesel trucks and family-friendly utility. in order to make this type of vehicle a reality, it would have to be purpose built. The A-BAT concept was wildly lauded as looking modern and capable while having conveniences that only vehicles like the Honda Ridgeline, Subaru Baja and Chevrolet Avalanche had.
Toyota A-BAT Concept.
Toyota A-BAT Concept.

How did this information come by TFLtruck?

A-BAT_concept+rear_view
Recently, a source close to TFLtruck noticed a few Toyota engineers taking what they called a, “noticeable” interest in the new Honda Ridgeline. Yes indeed, that’s all I have to go on. The rest of this post is up to you, the truck connoisseurs out there.

What do you think? If the market continues to open up with vehicles like the proposed Hyundai Santa Cruz and, possibly a car-based Ram pickup, would it behoove the largest automaker on the planet to build a Toyota Hybrid Pickup Truck? Let us know!

Speaking of small Toyota Trucks…

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.