Here Is Why I Am Excited About Toyota’s New EPU Pickup & Land Cruiser Se Electric Concepts

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Ok, so it is not 2008, and we really should not be excited about battery-electric vehicle concepts. It is 2023 now, and the electric vehicle industry is a whole lot more developed compared to 2008, so we should really just be celebrating more EVs being delivered to customers in their millions. But Toyota is such an important player in the automotive sector and has a much bigger global reach than most players, and therefore when it showcases two concepts in critical market segments (large SUVs and mid-size pickups) with what I presume is some serious intent, we should take note.

Earlier today, Toyota unveiled two interesting concept battery-electric vehicles at the Japan Mobility Show 2023. These are the Toyota Land Cruiser Se Concept BEV and the EPU Double Cab Mid-Sized Pickup BEV concept.

Let’s start with the Land Cruiser Se BEV Concept.

The Toyota Land Cruiser Se BEV concept. Images courtesy of Toyota

The Toyota Land Cruiser is an iconic large SUV loved by government fleets, NGOs, corporates, farmers, mining corporations, private security companies, and private consumers around the world. It is particularly popular in Africa as well with the same consumers. First introduced in 1951, it has gone on to sell over ten million units, and therefore it is important that this vehicle gets an electric vehicle option.

Toyota says the Land Cruiser Se is envisioned to offer, “the high torque driving performance unique to BEVs, together with an elegant, stylish design. Toyota further broadens the Land Cruiser brand’s appeal with a three-row SUV that caters to the world’s diverse needs. BEV quietness helps create a comfortable cabin space when driving in urban areas and other on-road situations. A monocoque body also offers highly responsive handling and confidence in tackling rough terrain.”

Main specifications of the Land Cruiser Se

  • 5,150 mm length / 1,990 mm width / 1,705 mm height
  • 3,05o mm wheelbase
  • 7-passenger capacity

Let us now look at the equality important pickup segment. One of the icons in this segment is the Toyota Hilux. 60,000 Toyota Hilux pickups are sold in South Africa each year, and a similar number in Australia. This is excluding sales of other popular pickups such as the Ford Ranger and the Isuzu D- Max in those markets. In Thailand, the numbers are even higher than that. In the US, Ford’s F-Series of trucks sell about 600,000 units per year, although in the US they have a wider range of pickups, from small to medium size to full size pickups. Pickups are a big deal, and Toyota needs to step up and feed the market with an electric equivalent of is highly successful Hilux.

Since its launch in the late 1960s, the Hilux has gone on to sell close to twenty million units. So, we can see that this is an important player in the world’s auto sector. Electrifying a good portion of this customer base going forward, depending on their use cases, will go a long way in helping to accelerate the transition to electric.

Toyota says, “EPU is a next-generation mid-size pickup truck concept, with a monocoque body delivering high durability to create a practical yet stylish BEV. At just over five meters long with a double cab design, the EPU’s monocoque structure also allows for a versatile deck space that caters to a broader range of user applications. The rear of the cabin links boldly with the deck to accommodate diverse user preferences, supporting a wide range of mobility lifestyles, including outdoor activities. BEV quietness is accompanied by packaging with a low centre of gravity for superior handling stability and ride comfort.”

The Toyota EPU Pickup BEV concept. Images courtesy of Toyota

 Main specifications of the EPU Concept BEV Pickup

  • 5,070 mm length / 1,910 mm width / 1,710 mm height
  • 3,350 mm wheelbase
  • 5-passenger capacity

I hope Toyota moves to makes these vehicles very quickly and that they are not just concepts that will sit at concept stage for a long time. Supply chains of stuff like batteries have improved significantly now, and a Land Cruiser with something like CATL’s 140kWh Qilin Battery could be a gamechanger. What are your thoughts on these concept vehicles? Let us know in the comments section.


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