Plans for an EV version of Australia’s most popular vehicle confirmed – but it could cost A LOT more and not even be widely available to the public
- Aussie electric car maker SEA in talks to adapt battery power to Toyota HiLux
- HiLux devices already get batteries, but it’s estimated to cost an extra $40,000
- The EV HiLux is likely aimed at business and government fleet buyers
An electric-powered version of Australia’s favorite vehicle, the Toyota Hi-Lux, could be available in less than a year, but at a potentially dazzling price above the average 4WD enthusiast.
Melbourne-based electric truck manufacturer SEA has announced plans to make an electric version of the best-selling Toyota HiLux 4WD.
SEA and two other electric car manufacturers are already applying battery power to the smaller Hi-Lux ute models, but experts say modifying the vehicles will add at least $40,000 to retail costs.
The top of the range Hi-Lux is already priced at $100,000.
A Melbourne electric carmaker is in talks with Toyota to offer electric-powered versions of its best-selling HiLux. to produce
The new EV HiLux is also likely to be produced in relatively small numbers with a target market of larger fleet buyers, such as mining companies and the government.
SEA Electric Asia-Pacific president Bill Gillespie confirmed on auto website autosales.nl that the corporate sector was the primary target audience for creating the Australian-modified electric HiLux.
“We have significant interest from companies in doing that and we are working with the Toyota group to see if we can achieve that goal,” he said.
Mr Gillespie said an EV HiLux could be launched in 2023 by taking pre-owned vehicles and equipping them with SEA Electric’s battery units.
‘We are ready to go, we just need to order the components to scale,’ said Mr Gillespie.
Fitting HiLuxs to battery power will likely add about $40,000 to the vehicle’s price tag
“So if someone were to say, ‘Can you build 200 in the second half of next year?’ the answer is ‘absolutely’.
“It’s just a matter of making a plan, securing enough chassis and ordering enough batteries, motors and cabling.”
While this could happen in Melbourne, SEA is an American company with factories worldwide.
However, Mr Gillespie said talks with Toyota are still at an early stage with which SEA has a strong relationship.
The Japanese auto giant could still decide they would rather make their own version of an electrically powered HiLux.
The Toyota HiLux is Australia’s best-selling vehicle with over 52,000 sold in 2021
Two other smaller Australian electric car manufacturers, H2X Global and Roev, have also produced HiLux battery powered cars.
Experts believe the Roevutes conversion adds about $40,000 to the vehicle’s $60,000 price tag.
Many of its competitors are already well advanced in producing electric pickup trucks, and Toyota is seen as the industry’s laggard.
However, in December, the company unveiled 17 electric “concept cars.”
The new battery-powered HiLuxs will target corporate fleet buyers, such as large mining companies
Toyota’s global chief, Akio Toyoda, said the vehicles were prototypes of models the maker plans to hit the market by 2025.
The HiLux was Australia’s best-selling car in 2021, with 52,801 units rolling out of showrooms, ahead of the Ford Ranger with 50,279 units sold.