Toyota’s new electric pick-up looks more like a Tesla than a Hilux

At Toyota, they have gone from being cautious with the electric vehicle to presenting a barrage of new features. The last one is a pick-up, the EPU. The Tokyo Motor Show 2023 is giving a lot of talk and, above all, it is the birthplace of many new features. One of the latest examples is the Toyota EPU, a modern electric pick-up with which Toyota intends to enter the booming segment of battery-powered pick-ups. And he wants to do it, furthermore, with a really interesting vehicle – also somewhat controversial – that breaks with the usual tradition of the brand’s pick-ups.

The Japanese brand says that the Toyota EPU is the prototype of a “next generation” pick-up and the truth is that it makes a very important evolutionary leap compared to traditional pick-ups. The EPU uses a monocoque chassis, we understand that on a scooter- type platform, abandoning the classic configuration of stringers and cross members.

Put another way, the EPU is closer (by build design) to a Rivian than a Hilux. Toyota assures that the monocoque construction also serves to have a more versatile rear box, which serves a wider range of applications and customer needs. 

Toyota EPU

The Toyota EPU is not a pick-up designed solely for work. The rear part of the cab connects with the box to adapt to a customer with a lifestyle in which there are many outdoor activities and uses the pick-up more for leisure than for work.

In terms of dimensions, this prototype measures 5,070 mm long by 1,910 mm wide and 1,710 mm high, with a wheelbase of 3,350 mm. It has a double cabin design, offering a capacity of five passengers. To put it in context, it is 25 centimeters shorter and 10 centimeters lower than a current diesel Hilux, although the EPU wheelbase is 26 centimeters longer.

Having a good wheelbase is very necessary to house the battery, of which the Japanese firm has not given more details. There has been no talk about its capacity or range, although several options are being considered. Toyota will debut the next generation of batteries in 2026. On that date, it will launch a lithium-ion battery with more than 800 kilometers of range. 

Toyota EPU interior

Between 2026 and 2027, they will launch a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery, which Toyota calls the “popularization battery”, designed for more affordable models. It will offer more than 600 kilometers of range, depending on the model. In any case, the EPU battery is unknown at the moment.

We said at the beginning that this new pick-up, whose appearance is very close to a production model, is also somewhat controversial and the reason lies in the interior. Specifically, on its steering wheel, which uses the controversial ‘yoke’ type design inherited from Lexus (and similar to Tesla). Inside, the physical buttons are almost completely reduced and almost everything is left at the mercy of two screens: one for the instrument panel and the other, larger, for the multimedia system. The gear lever is placed in the middle of both screens, a small lever reminiscent of the one Porsche uses in the Cayenne and Panamera.

Elenor Kling

A tech lover and generally a car enthusiast who likes to do a lot of research and share knowledge.

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