Toyota preps first electric pickup, the Hilux BEV, following BYD Shark PHEV truck launch


Following the launch of BYD’s first pickup, the Shark PHEV, Toyota is testing an all-electric Hilux BEV model. Toyota is preparing to produce its first electric pickup in Thailand by the end of next year.

Toyota to launch its first electric pickup in Thailand

As one of the top-selling pickups globally, the Toyota Hilux is the perfect model to go all-electric. It’s already sold in 180 countries and regions with a wide-reaching market of buyers.

Toyota has been teasing an all-electric version for some time. Although its first “electrified” Hilux Hybrid 48V was introduced last December, it still has a 2.8L diesel engine for a modest 5% fuel efficiency improvement.

The automaker even unveiled a hydrogen fuel cell Hilux prototype last year, so where is the all-electric version?

Speaking to reporters at the Bangkok International Motor Show in March, Toyota Thailand president Noriaki Kamashita confirmed the Hilux EV would roll out by the end of 2025.

“Our intention is to be producing the Hilux BEV over here,” Pras Ganesh, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Asia, confirmed to Reuters this week.

Toyota Hilux Revo BEV Concept (Source: Toyota Motor)

Although the first electric Toyota pickup will be aimed at the Thailand market, Toyota is considering exporting the model, according to Ganesh.

Toyota is still working out the kinks ahead of its debut.”The more range I have to put on it, the more battery I have to put on it, which means the weight of the vehicle also becomes significantly heavier, which means the loading can be much less,” Ganesh explained.

Toyota HiLux BEV electric pickup (Source: Toyota)

“So is it going to meet the customer’s usage needs?’ is always our biggest issue. We are always trying to understand what they do.”

BYD, Chinese automakers are taking over

Meanwhile, Chinese rival BYD launched its first pickup this week. BYD introduced the Shark, a plug-in hybrid pickup with 100 km (62 mi) NEDC all-electric range. Combined, the Shark PHEV can travel 840 km (522 mi) NEDC range.

BYD Shark launch event (Source: BYD)

BYD launched the Shark in Mexico but plans to take the pickup globally. Available in two versions, the GL model starts at $53,400 (899,980 pesos), while the GS costs $58,100 (969,800 pesos).

According to BYD, the Shark’s fuel consumption (7.5L per 100 km) is 40% lower than that of a full gas-powered engine truck.

At 5,457 mm long, 1,971 mm wide, and 1,925 mm tall, the BYD Shark is a direct rival to Toyota’s top-selling Hilux pickup (5,325 mm long X 1,855 mm wide X 1,815 mm tall).

Electrek’s Take

After traveling across Thailand for my honeymoon over the past few weeks, I can confirm that Toyota Hilux models are everywhere. Japanese automakers like Toyota and Honda are still the most popular on the road.

Having said that, BYD and other Chinese automakers like MG and GWM are making a strong push. Most of the Grab (Thailand’s Uber) that I took were electric MG or BYD vehicles. The most popular models during my travels were the MG4, BYD Atto 3, Ora Good Cat (and Funky Cat), and BYD Dolphin. I also saw a bunch of Teslas and a handful of Volvo EVs.

I even saw a bunch of them on the smaller, less developed islands. Signs everywhere (Airports, highways, markets, etc.) were promoting BYD, MG, XPeng, and other Chinese EVs.

BYD was Thailand’s best-selling EV brand last year, with the Atto 3 being the top-selling electric model. Over 19,200 were delivered, and you can start to see the shift.

Meanwhile, Toyota’s sales are down over 25% in Thailand this year (133,406) after falling another 32% in March.

After breaking ground last March, BYD is expected to finish construction on its first car plant in Thailand. Once up and running, the plant is expected to produce 150,000 vehicles a year as BYD looks to grow its brand in the region.

Toyota will need to hurry to keep up with Thailand’s rapidly evolving auto market, or it risks falling further behind BYD, MG, and GWM.

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