Electric Toyota HiLux unveiled in Australia, with a catch

Electric Toyota HiLux unveiled in Australia, with a catch

An Australian technology company has unveiled an electric Toyota HiLux years before the Japanese car giant will have one in local showrooms.

An Australian technology start-up company has created an electric Toyota HiLux for fleet buyers years before Toyota is likely to have one in its local showroom line-up.

Roev has a long-term goal to manufacture its own electric vehicles in Australia but is beginning with electric conversions of existing utes, starting with the Toyota HiLux, Australia’s top-selling vehicle outright for the past six years.

The hand-built Toyota HiLux electric utes are for now not aimed at retail buyers, but the company is targeting government and business fleets — and mining companies.

Roev is yet to disclose the cost of the conversion, but industry experts estimate it could amount to more than $40,000 – in addition to the initial $60,000 outlay for the original vehicle.

The CEO and co-founder of Roev, Noah Wasmer — a former executive at the Atlassian software company — said in a media statement:

“The ute is the obvious choice because of the size of the market and the fact that there is no outlook at all for mainstream electric utes hitting our shores.

“They are also among the worst emitters of CO2 being almost 100 per cent diesel and with high kilometers driven due to the nature of their use.”

“The Roev team (is) taking action today with an EV Fleet Program to convert current model diesel utes to electric. Roev (is) working with business and government fleets to convert their current model Toyota HiLux and Ford Rangers to electric vehicles,” the statement continued.

Roev has already created a HiLux prototype at its base on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

Little is known about the technical detail of the vehicle or the conversion work, however the Roev HiLux is believed to have either 70kWh or 100kWh batteries, with a single electric motor, for a maximum driving range of about 400 kilometers.

Electric pick-ups are starting to roll into US showrooms, albeit initially in limited numbers.

Customer deliveries of the Ford F-150 Lightning have started in the US, and Tesla is said to have more than 200,000 deposits for its Cybertruck.

In Australia, big-name brands in utes — Toyota, Ford, Mazda, Nissan and Isuzu — are likely to be beaten to the punch by electric imports from China.

Chinese brand LDV is committed to importing its eT60 electric ute into Australia, either later this year or early in 2023, as previously reported by Drive.

Paul Gover

Paul Gover has been a motoring journalist for more than 40 years, working on newspapers, magazines, websites, radio and television. A qualified general news journalist and sports reporter, his passion for motoring led him to Wheels, Motor, Car Australia, Which Car and Auto Action magazines. He is a champion racing driver as well as a World Car of the Year judge.

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