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Toyota Tacoma Hybrid Pickup Truck Back On the Table

Toyota's Tacoma may well get a hybrid engine after all.

Very quietly the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is outselling every electric car on the market month in and month out. And not by a little. The RAV4 Hybrid outsells the top-selling EV by about two to one most months. There is a market for green vehicles in America, but American's don't want battery electric cars with short range or big price tags. They want affordable compact crossovers and midsize trucks. That is why Toyota is not ruling out a Tacoma Hybrid, and why Toyota just added more U.S.-built hybrid drivetrain capacity in America.

Back in the summer of 2014, Torque News did a little back of the napkin calculation and came up with a 31 MPG combined rating for a Tacoma Hybrid 4x4. The RAV4 Hybrid AWD was launched in April of the following year with a 32 MPG rating, so we are more confident an ever that our calculations were not that far off. Toyota already knows what its hybrid drive is capable of, it's just a matter of adapting the drivetrain to a pickup body. No small matter, but certainly not outside of Toyota's capabilities.
- See our prior reporting on the Tacoma Hybrid

The latest news on the Tacoma Hybrid comes via Motor Trend. At the State Fair of Texas, Toyota group vice president of marketing Ed Laukes told that publication that the Toyota has updates for its body-on-frame vehicles in the pipeline. Motor Trend specifically asked Laukes if a hybrid truck might be a possibility. “There’s absolutely no reason we couldn’t have a hybrid truck,” he said. “All those options, we’re exploring. When you’re trying to raise [corporate average fuel economy] limits for the entire brand, there’s no option that isn’t on the table.” Going further, he added, "...powertrains are obviously a big piece of anyone’s equation as we work on CAFE standards.”

Related Story: Why a Tacoma Diesel makes more sense than a Tacoma Hybrid


Bob Reed (not verified)    September 7, 2018 - 10:02PM

Dodge announced the RAM1500 Hybrid - which improves fuel mileage by about 3 mpg over the non-hybrid version. Yes, you read that correctly - a 3 mpg improvement. This is what happens when you take an existing pickup design and drop a mild hybrid power plant into it and call it a day. And it underscores why Toyota shouldn't take the existing Tacoma and put a hybrid drive system into it. They need a ground up redesign in order to launch a hybrid truck that would be worth buying. I think they would need to go to a unibody design, incorporate a CVT, dramatically lighten the vehicle wherever possible and design a body profile that would be substantially more aerodynamic. In other words, instead of adapting a Tacoma, they probably should consider launching a new truck model that was designed from beginning to end to be a hybrid pickup. Without a single doubt, I would buy it.