Toyota Thailand to conduct trials of electric pickup taxis in Pattaya early next year
Just before the holidays last year, Toyota Motor Thailand (TMT) unveiled the Hilux Revo BEV concept. Revealed in celebration of TMT's 60th anniversary, the all-electric pickup concept serves as a preview of things to come from the automaker as it plans to introduce a zero-emissions workhorse in the not-so-distant future.
Fast forward to late 2023, and it looks like Toyota is looking to offer electric pickup trucks in The Land of The Smiles soon. But before customers will be able to get their hands on it, the automaker will supposedly test them first as taxis.
According to a report by Reuters, the upcoming test by Toyota is part of its latest efforts to boost EV sales in Thailand which has seen rising competition from Chinese automakers. Pras Ganesh, executive vice president of Toyota Daihatsu Engineering & Manufacturing, shared that engineers are already working on adapting Toyota electric pickups to local conditions and building up its EV R&D capacity in Thailand. Ganesh then mentioned that a small batch of battery EV pickup trucks will be trialed in the beach city of Pattaya early next year.
Toyota did not exactly say if the Toyota Hilux BEV concept will be the exact vehicle to be tested as a taxi. However, given that the automaker plans on starting production of the EV pickup this year, perhaps they will be testing a prototype based on the said concept. Another possibility is an electric taxi based on the soon-to-be-revealed IMV-0 based truck which will be called the Hilux Champ in Thailand.
But why did Toyota decide to test an electric pickup in Thailand? For starters, The Land of Smiles is one of the biggest markets in Southeast Asia when it comes to pickup trucks. In fact, pickups make up almost half of total vehicle sales in Thailand. With stiff competition coming from Chinese automakers, it stands to reason that Toyota is already busy developing a zero-emissions workhorse to compete against other brands.
Could an electric pickup from Toyota make sense in Southeast Asia and in the Philippines? Let us know what you think.