Among the dozen EV concepts Toyota unveiled Tuesday were two that emphasized ruggedness and off-road capability. The Compact Cruiser EV and Toyota Pickup EV preview two possibilities for the 30 electric models Toyota plans to launch by 2030.
Among 15 concepts shown Tuesday—most of them production-bound, according to Toyota—these two trucks are likely to conjure nostalgia and enthusiasm from U.S. Toyota truck fans.
The Compact Cruiser EV is an electric SUV with styling reminiscent of the Toyota FJ Cruiser, a cult-classic off-road model from the early 2000s envisioned as a revival of the classic FJ40-series Toyota Land Cruiser.
The overall shape of the Compact Cruiser EV is fairly close to the FJ Cruiser's, but this concept ditches the FJ's round headlights and sports four conventional doors for added practicality. As the name suggests, the Compact Cruiser EV also appears genuinely, well, compact. That should make it easier to maneuver on off-road trails than the old FJ Cruiser.
Toyota Pickup EV
The Toyota Pickup EV concept has styling reminiscent of the current Toyota Tacoma midsize truck, and seems fairly close to that model in size as well. Toyota didn't reveal powertrain details of the Pickup EV or Compact Cruiser EV concepts, so styling is all we have to go on for now.
An electric pickup truck in particular seems like a reasonable addition to Toyota's lineup. Toyota has likely seen the fervor behind the Rivian R1T and R1S, the GMC Hummer EV, the Ford F-150 Lightning, and the Tesla Cybertruck and may want to get a piece of the action.
Toyota has also taken small steps toward electrified off-road vehicles.
2022 Toyota Tundra
It's already set a great precedent with the RAV4 Prime, which is actually better in some off-road situations in its EV Mode, with the gas engine kept off.
Toyota revealed its first hybrid truck this year, but not in the way that many Toyota customers might have anticipated. It's a variant of the Tundra full-size pickup that seems to emphasize power and towing capability over mpg.
Toyota does plan to make hybrid batteries in the U.S., and that will "pave the way" for U.S.-made EVs potentially later in the decade. Might those models be trucks?