The next-generation Toyota Tundra could be electrified.
The full-size pickup segment continues to be dominated by the American Big 3 manufacturers, that’s no secret. For all the considerable efforts it has made to crash that party, Toyota remains in fourth place in the category. However, the Japanese automaker appears to have no intention of throwing in the towel.
Speaking recently with the CarBuzz website, Toyota’s chief truck engineer Sheldon Brown gave an overview of the company's vision of the future in this area.
While stopping short of confirming that an electric version of the Tundra is on the way, he did make clear that Toyota understands how important low-end torque and power are to truck owners when making a buying decision. To meet this demand, Toyota thinks it can leverage decades of hybrid powertrain development to enhance its next-generation Tundra, which is expected very soon.
To be sure, a hybrid version of the Tundra pickup would be a whole different ball of wax than a Toyota Prius the focus of which is to maximise energy efficiency. Truck buyers prioritize capacity over fuel-efficiency; generally they don't buy a pickup to save money at the pump. Any improvement in this area is a welcome bonus, but not a core factor in deciding on a purchase.
Time is of the essence, of course. With what's coming up in the electric-mobility field, notably from Ford and GM as well as independent companies like Rivian and Tesla, Toyota will have to be proactive if it wants to remain competitive.
And it can play the expertise card, too.
As mentioned, it won't happen overnight. However, it should no longer surprise anyone to learn that the new-generation Tundra pickup might be equipped with at least some kind of electrical power when it does make its debut.
You could even extend the speculative thought to encompass the smaller Tacoma truck, which will share same architecture as the Tundra. Sounds intriguing.