Toyota Halts Stylish Hybrid Pickup

Toyota has decided not to move forward with the small stylish A-BAT hybrid pickup concept. Automotive News reported today that the company decided to put the vehicle “on the shelf,” according to Bob Carter, Toyota Division’s general manager—after going as far as requesting bids last fall from suppliers for the hybrid pickup.

If the United States is going to tackle oil use and carbon emissions in any significant way, the country will need to improve the efficiency of pickup-trucks—historically the largest segment and one of the least efficient. The Toyota A-BAT, which stands for “Advanced Breakthrough Aero Truck,” signaled a potentially radical shift in pickup design. The vehicle could have appealed to pickup drivers who seldom load lumber, but want versatility, roominess, and sleek styling. The concept version was loaded with gizmos, like translucent solar panels in the top of the dashboard and Wi-Fi capability.

While the A-BAT would achieve better fuel-efficiency by applying hybrid technology to a four-cylinder engine and an aerodynamic design, General Motors is using its two-mode hybrid system in the full-size 6.0-liter V8 Chevy Silverado Hybrid. The Silverado Hybrid tows 6,100 pounds and delivers fuel economy above 20 mpg. Chrysler will employ a similar approach in the Dodge Ram Hybrid, which uses a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 gas engine and two 60kW electric motors. The Dodge Ram Hybrid is due out in 2010.

Unfortunately, pickup sales have suffered this year from declines in construction and housing. Sales of the Toyota Tacoma are down 37.3 percent so far this year, and the full-size Tundra fell by 55 percent.

Sales of the Chevy Silverado Hybrid pickup—first reported at the beginning of 2009—have been meager. GM sold 7 units in January, 47 in February, and 68 in March.

Perhaps the poor sales in the pickup segment in general, and of the Silverado Hybrid in particular, dissuaded Toyota from moving forward with the A-BAT. “We have a lot of top priorities, and A-BAT is not one of them right now,” said Carter, in an interview with

Toyota is planning to introduce 10 new hybrids globally by 2012, but based on the decision to hold back the A-BAT, a hybrid pickup will not be among the new gas-electric models.

More Hybrid News...

  • Todd1964

    Pick-up Truck? It looks less usable than the Honda Ridgeline. Honestly, it really is a Subaru Brat on steroids. Toyota would be better served finding a way to squeeze every mpg out of the Tacoma and Tundra. A turbo-six/hybrid or diesel/hybrid in the Tundra to take the 4X4 Double Cab from 13mpg to 20 – 24mpg and they will have a real winner as long as the cost is affordable and the housing market returns.

  • EP

    I think this could have sold very well if it wasn’t full of solar dash gizmos etc that would make it prohibitively expensive. Just keep it simple and styled nicely like in the photo and it would be a great compliment to the prius for those that require 4wd and some ground clearance with decent approach angles but dont require tonnes of cargo space. Instead we are forced to buy much larger gas guzzling trucks because nothing remotely like this exists in the market anymore. They decided to make the Venza station wagon which is muddled in with dozens of other wagons that do much the same thing. But something unique like this AWD 4cyl hybrid ABAT would have the entire market share all to itself.

  • Mr. Fusion

    I love my ’03 Tundra regular cab long bed. I bought it to work.

    When I heard of the A-BAT I was psyched…until I saw it. Too fancy. No way are the folks who can afford this thing going to throw something sharp and jagged in the bed, drive it through mud up to the hubs or hook it up to straighten out a footing.

    Toyota, what happened? Your old Tacos were perfect little work horses. Affordable, durable and fun. The 1st three generation 4Runners and 1st gen Tundras were on the money. Now everything is too big, too luxurious and way too expensive.

    And now, this uptight concept. I’m glad they canned it.

    Bring back the old Toyota trucks we love with the new technology.

  • Dom

    The kind of truck I’d be interested in – a Ford Ranger size or a little bigger, with a clean diesel engine and a manual transmission. That’s it. It would be a great little workhorse. And a truck just like this is sold just about everywhere else except the US. But American’s apparently HAVE to have all sorts of gizmo’s, automatics, and luxuries in their trucks… groan…

  • Joel Puryear

    It’s amazing that Toyota already makes a proven truck with good fuel economy in the Hilux for the rest of the world and they are still trying to market a truck that truck owners don’t want. A truck the size of a Tacoma sipping 30+ mpg with regular dino diesel? High torque, 4wd, and diesel longevity? Meets Euro IV jut like VW’s TDI? Send it here! I will buy it!

  • Heags

    I would love to have a small light truck again, but would have trouble giving up the mileage I get in my Camry hybrid.

    Ford used to have an electirc version of the Ranger, I remember writing a paper about electric cars when I was in college, and was driving a regular Ranger at the time. I figured the next car I was going to buy would have been electirc. That was 11 years ago.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    It would be nice to get the all-American pickup truck into the 21st century but it shouldn’t be with some wimpy art project that captures the essence of a pickup truck. We need a real, hybrid pickup truck that truly exploits the the power of an electric motor to provide incredible torque for hauling as well as benefiting from the fuel economy it will enable.
    The sloping sides of these urban cowboy toys are useless for what a pickup is for – hauling stuff.
    I’d love to see a diesel plug-in serial hybrid pickup truck, either fullsize or compact but I suspect we’ll have to wait until the prices on hybrid drivetrains come down a bit through use in higher margin vehicles.

  • vas

    This is most unfortunate. I, and many more, would have jumped on the opportunity to have an innovative vehicle that provides the serviceability of a truck. Bring on A-BAT!!!

  • SteveC

    Oh please Toyota, make some kind of small hybrid pickup. I own a 2000 Tacoma and I’ve been waiting for several years. I don’t tow or go off road. I don’t need a BIG truck. Just something to haul stuff around town. Think about it. Remember the El Camino of the 60s/70s. Maybe use the Prius platform and make something with a 6 foot bed. My $.02

  • Abbott

    Well shucks! I loved the A-BAT’s design. I was all about trying to save money for that beast. Oh well there goes the truck I wanted.

  • Lori

    I am a over 40 mom of teens we go skiing, biking,hiking etc. When I heard about this vehicle I wrote Toyota and told them I and many other moms would love this.

    I still want this vehicle and I will hold on to my 1990 Daytona as long as I can as

    (Toyota’s Advanced Breakthrough Aero Truck)

  • Mark R

    A lot of great comments here. I, too, have been waiting and hoping. The A-BAT seemed to offer real fuel savings over a Ridgeline while retaining the most important capabilities. In my opinion, such a vehicle could serve a huge market: workweek commuters who spend weekends surfing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, hunting, fishing, camping, playing hockey, biking, mowing lawns, moving furniture, etc. The list goes on. Do you live-to-work or work-to-live? Those of us in the work-to-live crowd are pretty unhappy about being forced to turn in our Frontiers and Tacomas for more fuel efficient sedans. I love to drive my 2000 truck to work because it reminds me of the fun I have on the weekend. But it’s almost time to re-equip and I’m afraid I can’t afford such luxuries the next time around. I have to plan for higher gas bills. A Honda Civic will help the budget. But every time I cram the trunk with my gear, or squeeze the kids into a backseat packed with sports equipment, or slip and slide in the snow, I’ll remember the day that Toyota killed the A-BAT.

  • FLNativeGardener

    The A-BAT is exactly the kind of truck I’m looking for when I’m ready to replace my 2003 Ford Sport Trac which has 162,000 miles on it. I’m disappointed that Toyota has decided not to build this truck. I’d like the versatility of a truck that can hold 4 passengers, haul light cargo in a bed, and get good gas mileage. There’s nothing out there like it, and unfortunately, it doesn’t look like there is going to be.

  • Tom R

    My wife and I have been dying to see this one in the showrooms.
    Saw it at a car show in 2008 and have been looking for it to be produced ever since.
    Come on Toyota, it will sell so what are you waiting for?

  • Bush Hog

    I like the designing of the Toyota’s A Bat. Its extremely well designed and catchy too. I saw it first in the local newspaper and from that day I am dying to get one. I love the vehicle.

  • Vlad Adam

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  • rafael

    is toyota planing make hybrid tandras

  • Willie Seawright

    I am the owner of a Ridgeline and would love to have this
    A-BAT in my inventory. Toyota needs to start production now. Imagine a pickup truck that gets 28 city & 25 hwy.

  • Fourpac

    I am the owner of a Ridgeline and would love to have this
    A-BAT in my inventory. Toyota needs to start production now. Imagine a pickup truck that gets 28 city & 25 hwy.

  • crissjohn97

    Some electric trolleybuses can switch between an on board diesel engine and overhead electrical power depending on conditions. In principle, this could be combined with a battery subsystem to create a true plug-in hybrid trolleybus, although as of 2006, no such design seems to have been

  • crissjohn97