Saturday, January 28, 2023
News Toyota Says the Infrastructure Needs to Improve Before it Makes an Electric...

Toyota Says the Infrastructure Needs to Improve Before it Makes an Electric Pickup

Toyota says it won't make an electric truck until the public charging network is improved.

  • Toyota unveiled an electric truck prototype late last year

  • The automaker was seen benchmarking a Rivian R1T and an F-150 Lightning

  • The company says EVs don’t currently meet the expectations of truck buyers

Despite having unveiled an electric truck prototype last year, Toyota says it will not build such a vehicle until the charging infrastructure is improved.

According to the company’s chief engineer responsible for the Tundra, Tacoma, Sequoia, and 4Runner, Mike Sweers, electric vehicles are not yet ready to meet all of the expectations of truck buyers.

This is surprising since the company’s CEO, Akio Toyoda, unveiled 15 prototypes of future electric vehicles last year, saying that over the next five years, every vehicle in the brand’s lineup will be electrified.

This doesn’t mean that every vehicle will be fully electric, but it means that the next generation of the Tacoma will offer some form of hybridization, as does the Tundra.

Many believed that the next Tacoma would be the basis of an electric truck that could compete with some of the smaller electric trucks presented by other automakers, such as the Rivian R1T.

This theory is even more credible since Toyota was spotted benchmarking this competitor, along with the Ford F-150 Lightning and a Tesla Model.

According to the chief engineer, this was done to have a better idea of the competition in the segment rather than to fine-tune an upcoming electric truck.

Indeed, Sweers says that the biggest hurdle that is stopping the company from making an electric truck is the charging infrastructure, which prevents EVs from meeting the demands of truck drivers.

This is because buyers of the Tundra and Tacoma use their vehicles to tow heavy loads and go offroad, two situations in which electric vehicles present some challenges.

For example, the range of electric trucks is known to drop significantly when towing, which means that drivers have to rely more heavily on the charging network and this is where the problems start according to Sweers.

To explain his point of view, he cites that charging stations are not yet as prevalent as gas stations in North America, which can leave drivers stranded in places where they can’t charge their batteries and be on their way.

In addition, he criticizes the lack of standards in the charging industry that makes every station different. Indeed, despite every station except Tesla’s using the same connectors to charge any kind of EV, the operation of the chargers and their safety systems are very different from one provider to the other.

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