Toyota unveiled the A-BAT Concept in January at the Detroit Auto Show. And shortly after it was rumored the concept will see production. Now it seems that the company is a step closer to producing the audaciously styled A-BAT concept pickup truck: "This is a common next step in evaluating cost parameters on promising concepts, but it does not imply a commitment to it yet," said a senior Toyota executive.
Supplier queries were sent for both a four-cylinder and hybrid-powered version of the truck, said Mike Levine.
Although the platform architecture is still unknown, the A-BAT would be car-based, rather than use a body-on-frame structure.
Toyota is taking under consideration a small truck that would fit underneath the existing Tacoma pickup truck. Depending on people’s reaction, the A-BAT Concept, unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show, might serve as as the model for a new smaller truck.
"I think everyone is trying to come out with products the customer doesn’t know they want yet," Don Esmond, Toyota senior vice president said.
The Toyota concept hybrid truck, which offers improved fuel economy and lower emissions, comes with a distinctive un-truck-like profile that has already reminded a lot of observers of Chevrolet’s old El Caminos from the 1970s.
The A-BAT isn’t exactly an old-school-style truck. It is built on unibody like a car for improved handling and a smoother ride. It also features wireless Internet, a portable battery pack stowed in the center console and a solar panels on top of instrument panel which captures sunlight and converts it to energy used to charge up the navigation system.
The four-passenger A-BAT also features a relatively short, four-foot bed and a bed extender to handle the ubiquitous six-foot long sheet of plywood beyond the tailgate as well as a translucent roof panel, which slides open to allow for tall cargo inside the cab.