Toyota has never been a company known for underdelivering on its promises. The Japanese auto giant was one of the pioneers of modern green vehicle technology when it launched the Toyota Prius several decades ago. But with the market rapidly evolving and electrification becoming a dominant motivator for sales, the company had to go big to solidify its green vehicle status. Toyota execs did just that in a big way, with the company previewing 16 different electric vehicle concepts while also promising more are on the way.
Diverse Field Of EV Concepts Previews Wide Segment Reach
We could spend alot of time focusing on all 17 concepts, but instead, we’ll cut straight to the point and focus on a few highlights that caught our eye during the conference. The first one that caught our attention was the Toyota EV pickup concept. All of these concepts had relatively generic placeholder names and as such will not receive awards for verbal creativity. However, the EV pickup stands out because of what it potentially represents. The idea of EV pickups is nothing new, but the bulk of the growing segment has been currently dominated by full-size pickup entries with no mid-size truck entries to speak of.
This concept is the size of a Toyota Tacoma and if everything sticks to the plan, it would be one of the first EV offerings to enter the mid-size segment. That would allow Toyota to have a broader swath of the EV pickup market and perhaps target early adopters that want a distinct lifestyle vehicle but don’t have the large wallet to afford one. The smaller size would also allow the truck to be a better fit in urban settings especially in areas where there’s a strong charging network. In addition, it would be a massive headstart over GM and Ford with neither company revealing whether they intend to offer a mid-size EV pickup or not.
The Sport EV concept goes in the other direction and showcases what would happen if Toyota’s electrification technology were used in a sports car. While we highly doubt that this model will ever see full-scale production, the very idea of such an offering is very interesting, and some of its exterior design could eventually trickle down into future Toyota models.
Full BZ Lineup Previewed
Toyota also gave us a good look at more bZ models and previewed what could morph into a full lineup for the bZ family. While the bZ4X serves as an oddly worded spearhead into the market for the lineup, the small crossover will eventually be joined by other offerings. They include a subcompact-sized bZ CUV, a second bZ utility that adopts a stylish coupe layout, and even a large SUV. All three will be welcome additions with the large one, in particular, being tailor-made to help capitalize on the trend towards large three-row SUVs.
A bZ branded sedan (SDN) was also teased but look for it to be overshadowed by the utility models at least in the U.S. the traditional four-door segment has taken a pummeling in sales the past few years, and the crop of sedan entries has been steadily shrinking here in the states as a result. Look for the SDN (if it makes production) to be limited to international markets where the pressure by utilities is not as overwhelming and it could get a strong foothold in select regions.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.