Toyota surprises us with slick electric ute and Land Cruiser

Toyota surprises us with slick electric ute and Land Cruiser

Toyota surprises us with slick electric ute and Land Cruiser

The electric EPU concept is a similar size to the US-market Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz.
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The electric EPU concept is a similar size to the US-market Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz.

Toyota has unveiled arguably the two most interesting vehicles to debut at this month’s Japan Mobility Show, in the form of a pair of fully electric models – one sporting a rather famous name on the tailgate.

The Japanese marque showed off its new Land Cruiser Se and EPU concepts, both donning slick exterior styling, and suspiciously production-ready looking interior spaces.

Labelled as a “next-generation mid-size pickup truck concept”, the EPU (the brand’s third electric ute concept) is a compact pick-up similar to the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz offered in the US, measuring 5070mm long, with 3350mm between the wheels.

It might have a small bed, but a foldable tailgate means the EPU can fit some longer loads.
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It might have a small bed, but a foldable tailgate means the EPU can fit some longer loads.

Just like those aforementioned utes, the EPU is based on a monocoque platform with a “low center of gravity for superior handling stability and ride comfort”, bypassing a traditional body-on-frame platform a la the current flock of double-cab utes that dominate the New Zealand market.

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Notably, the EPU concept features a split-folding tailgate (helping accommodate longer loads), a fascinating staggered dual-screen set-up on the dashboard, a ‘yoke’ steering wheel, and acres of storage space.

Moving over to the Land Cruiser Se, and we’re faced with an SUV wearing a more minimalist and urban-looking outer than we’re used to from the famous Land Cruiser name. This makes sense, as this is the first time we’ve ever seen the Land Cruiser nameplate attached to an EV – concept or not.
The Land Cruiser Se is much longer than its LC300 namesake, with an electric urban twist.
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The Land Cruiser Se is much longer than its LC300 namesake, with an electric urban twist.

Toyota boasts that the Se brings “high-torque driving performance”, adding that the concept previews how Toyota expects the Land Cruiser nameplate to serve the “world’s diverse needs”.

Like the EPU, the Land Cruiser Se concept is also built on a monocoque platform. Measuring in at 5150mm long, it is 170mm longer than the current Land Cruiser LC300. Most of this difference is reflected in the Se’s wheelbase, meaning it likely gets a much larger cabin space.

Whilst the Land Cruiser Se is likely to feature all-wheel drive, Toyota did say at its unveiling that its suspension set-up is more geared towards urban driving.

How the Toyota Crown's new hybrid system works

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Toyota' all-new Crown also gets a new hybrid system - see how it works here.

I say “likely to feature” as Toyota did not confirm many technical details for either of its two new concepts. So, no battery sizes, no power or torque output figures, and no range estimates. It’s unknown whether these two concepts make use of Toyota’s much discussed in-house solid-state battery tech.

The two new concepts weren’t the only things Toyota unveiled at the Japan Mobility Show. The brand also showed off a new kind of steering wheel. Inspired by motorcycle handlebars, the new wheel integrates the functions of accelerator and brake pedals.

The brand also showed off its new Land Hopper foldable electric trike. The “three-wheeled electric personal mobility concept” is designed to easily fit in people’s cars when folded, while also being useful for “seniors who choose to give up their licences”.

Land Hopper foldable electric trike

Bonus images

The EPU’s cabin features plenty of storage space on the dash, and a unique dual-screen cluster in front of the driver.Land Cruiser SE interior
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The EPU’s cabin features plenty of storage space on the dash, and a unique dual-screen cluster in front of the driver.
The Land Cruiser Se appears to be more geared towards luxury customers, presuming it eventually goes into production.
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The Land Cruiser Se appears to be more geared towards luxury customers, presuming it eventually goes into production.
Toyota showed off a new steering wheel design that allows drivers to use their hands to control throttle and brake application.
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Toyota showed off a new steering wheel design that allows drivers to use their hands to control throttle and brake application.
The EPU is a surprisingly production-ready looking concept, noting the realistic door handles and wing mirrors.
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The EPU is a surprisingly production-ready looking concept, noting the realistic door handles and wing mirrors.
Slick surfacing and minimalist design gives the Land Cruiser Se a real premium look.
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Slick surfacing and minimalist design gives the Land Cruiser Se a real premium look.

About the Author

Volta Automotive Ltd which imports and sells Electric Vehicles and Hybrids Car dealers New Zealand and Australia can list and sell on our website www.voltnz.autos

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