Akio Toyoda, the President of Toyota Motor Corporation, Japan and Noriaki Yamashita, the President of Toyota Motor Thailand jointly inaugurated the event “Toyota Celebrates 60th anniversary of operations in Thailand” at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center to express gratitude to all sectors who have participated in the success over the past 6 decades.
Toyota sees that more than half of the vehicle market in Thailand is driven by commercial pickup trucks. Therefore the Japanese automaker took the opportunity to showcase an electric pickup truck– the IMV-0 concept as well as a Hilux Revo BEV (battery electric vehicle) prototype.
The IMV-0 concept previews a highly modular pick-up truck that’s focused on versatility. According to Akio Toyoda, the development team, which included Thai, Japanese, and Australian designers and engineers, spent months in the field to observe the lifestyles and needs of potential owners. He said:
“I truly believe this is a product that can enhance the quality of life for many people and provide new economic opportunities.”
Hilux owners in Thailand tend to extensively customize their vehicles to fit their daily usage, and that’s exactly what the IMV-0 aims to accomplish. Toyota is looking to provide an “IKEA-like” approach with more options that can be quickly and easily installed. Behind the passenger cab, owners will be able to install modules for different activities, such as over-landing & hauling cargo etc. Toyota isn’t limiting the IMV-0 to just personal use cases, as there are also modules available for businesses, governmental agencies and emergency services.
According to Toyota engineers behind the development of IMV-o:
“This pickup truck is like a blank sheet of paper. We have paper for you. You take it to color. We produce ready-made cars for you to customize. Every part is designed to be consistent with use. We intended to design it into 3 parts, while the hood has removable joints. If any corner bumper is damaged, just replace that corner.”
Toyota says, the ultimate goal is to find a way to produce this vehicle at the most affordable price for the customers. “Producing this car in Thailand will make it accessible to all customers, and that it can actually be used to make money. This is what we expect. We want this vehicle to be a national beloved pick-up truck.”
In terms of design, the IMV-0 is a little quirky and unconventional. The boxy front end features horizontal light bars in the headlamps as well as a rugged bumper. There are quite a few anchor points to hook up accessories on the bonnet and fenders, further reinforcing the notion of versatility.
On the other hand, the Toyota Hilux Revo BEV concept is actually a prototype of a 100% pure electric pickup truck based on the Hilux Revo single-cab chassis. Toyota says it has been modified to install electric motors, batteries, chargers, and other accessories. The styling features a closed fascia as EVs don’t need a grille to cool the radiator & other engine components. Plus there is a charging port located at the front fender, apart from which the rest of the vehicle remains unchanged.
Akio Toyoda, who led the development of the IMV (Innovative International Multi-Purpose Vehicle) project in 2002 that saw the introduction of the Hilux Vigo in Thailand, did not reveal any technical details regarding the battery, motor or driving range of these two electric concepts.
But he mentioned that Toyota IMV-0 and the Hilux Revo BEV in production guise will be officially launched in Thailand in 2023. Akio said:
“For me, the Hilux Vigo launch remains one of the fondest memories of my career and it shaped my leadership style more than anything else. I will always be grateful to Thailand for the lessons I learned from that experience. So, as a way of saying thank you, I decided to challenge our engineering and design teams to create a brand new IMV pick-up truck for Thailand, something truly affordable and truly innovative. Internally we call it the IMV-0 concept. Its official launch is actually over a year away, but I wanted all of you to be the first to see it!”
However, as expected Akio Toyoda who hasn’t been too keen to go all-electric, said:
“BEVs are not the only way to achieve the world’s carbon neutrality goals. Personally, I would rather pursue every option not just one options such as emission-free synthetic fuels and hydrogen. As we work to achieve a sustainable future, I also believe we need to take a holistic approach to carbon neutrality, from how we source materials, to how we manufacture cars, to what powertrains we put in them, and how we dispose of them.”
A computer animation professional with over 23 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations, TV channels & production facilities in Pakistan. An avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver quality content to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com