Despite publicly claiming that there are no plans for an electric pickup truck in their lineup, Toyota’s recent behind-the-scenes actions tell a different story. In a video on “The Electric Viking” channel by Sam Evans, it was revealed that Toyota engineers have bought a Tesla Cybertruck and a Ford F-150 Lightning for testing and evaluation. Here’s the full story.

The Popularity of Electric Pickups

Sam Evans, the host of the channel, expressed his enthusiasm for electric pickup trucks, sharing their versatility for various purposes such as transporting bikes, surfboards, and camping gear. He highlighted the popularity of electric pickups in the United States, where several options were already available, including the Rivian R1T and the Ford F-150 Lightning.

Toyota’s recent move appeared contradictory to its public statements, where the company had consistently downplayed the demand for electric vehicles, particularly electric pickup trucks. Sam added that the revelation of benchmarking the Tesla Cybertruck and the Ford F-150 Lightning raised questions about Toyota’s actual intentions regarding EVs and the possibility of an electric pickup in the future.

Toyota’s Secret Move

Despite Toyota releasing an electric truck concept with a design resembling the Ford Maverick, the company claimed it was merely a concept and not intended for production. However, the latest information suggested that Toyota might have been gearing up to enter the electric pickup market, potentially competing with established players like Tesla and Ford.

Sam shared sources within Toyota’s product development team indicating that the automaker was actively testing full-size electric pickups at two different development sites in the United States. The vehicles being evaluated included the Tesla Cybertruck, the Ford F-150 Lightning, and even the GMC Hummer EV.

The Timing of the Incident

The move to benchmark these electric pickups suggested that Toyota might have been reconsidering its strategy and could have been planning to launch an electric pickup truck in the U.S. market according to the video. Sam highlighted that the timing was crucial, considering the growing popularity of electric pickups and the advancements in technology that made them more viable for mainstream consumers.

Toyota, known for its hybrid vehicles and successful models like the Prius, faced a challenging landscape in the electric pickup market. Competing with the likes of Ford, Tesla, and General Motors, which were already making significant strides in the electric truck segment, required strategic planning and innovation.

The Failure of Past Offerings

Toyota’s previous electric offering, the bz4X electric SUV, had not gained much traction in the U.S. market due to factors like pricing, range, and lack of dedicated production facilities. However, the recent $1.3 billion investment in upgrading a Kentucky plant for EV production indicated a shift in Toyota’s approach to electric vehicles.

Sam shared that as Toyota silently explored the electric pickup landscape, the big question remained: Would Toyota officially enter the electric pickup market, and if so, how well-prepared were they to compete with established players?

He concluded that while the company’s leadership had expressed skepticism about the widespread adoption of EVs, the acquisition and benchmarking of electric pickups suggested a behind-the-scenes acknowledgment of the shifting landscape.

Toyota’s Strategy

Several YouTube users shared their thoughts on the video.

One user wrote, “Toyota’s strategy is to bang the ICE drum and squeeze as much profits from it while they still can while taking their time to come up with killer EVs and battery tech in a few years time just in time when EVs become fully mainstream. It’s most likely the best and most profitable strategy that will keep them on top.”

Another user added, “Toyota could have had a Tacoma BEV for sale by now. Think how many tens of thousands they’d have already sold to US handymen and landscape gardeners. They’re arrogantly like the British motorcycle industry in the 60s, thinking they know what’s best for the buying public.”

So what do you think? Did you believe Toyota’s recent benchmarking of electric pickups shows a shift towards embracing EVs? Or is it just a strategic move to assess the competition in the market?