• Dec 27th 2007 at 6:18PM
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click above to view more images of the Toyota A-BAT Concept

Perhaps in response to the criticism that Toyota has received over the past year from environmentalists for its ever larger and thirstier trucks, the Japanese automaker is switching direction with its 2008 Detroit concept - the A-BAT hybrid pickup concept. Toyota and Nissan pioneered the idea of modern compact pickup trucks in the U.S. market, but Toyota has largely left it behind over the past decade. The new A-BAT concept pickup is 27 inches shorter than an extended cab Tacoma and nine inches shorter than the regular cab model. In profile, the uni-body truck looks somewhat like a shorter Honda Ridgeline with rounder contours. The A-BAT is the first Toyota to have a mid-gate allowing cargo longer than the standard four-foot bed to extend into the cab. With the tailgate down, drivers can pack the proverbial 4x8 sheet of plywood. Power for the A-BAT comes from Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive mated to a four-cylinder engine, although so far there is no indication of which wheels get propulsion. Based on the snub-nosed styling, it seems probable that the engine is transversely mounted and driving the front wheels, but we'll find out for sure when the A-BAT officially debuts at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.

[Source: Toyota]



DETROIT - Jan. 13, 2008 - Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., returns to its compact pickup truck roots with its latest concept vehicle A-BAT. The environmentally advanced A-BAT provides modern versatility, roominess and style in a compact pickup architecture. The A-BAT made its debut in Detroit at the 2008 North American International Auto Show today.

"Driving from beyond the suburbs to the city is a way of life for many people," said Kevin Hunter, president, Calty Design Research, Inc. "We've taken Toyota's truck heritage to a different level by envisioning a vehicle capable of
maneuvering the suburbs as well as dirt roads. This compact truck is as comfortable for long commutes as it is for road trips. It can accommodate outdoor toys and home improvement supplies. Plus, customers benefit from the hybrid powertrain's low emissions and fuel economy."

The A-BAT concept was developed by the TMS Advanced Product Strategy group and Calty, Toyota's North American-based, research and design center located in Newport Beach, Calif. Together, they identified a buyer group whose unique combination of lifestyle activities and vehicle needs required a vehicle that as of now is not available in the market place. The team created a new genre of compact vehicle with good fuel economy, advanced functionality, maneuverability, unique styling within its segment, and a durable package suitable for an active lifestyle. Advanced styling was also key in making the A-BAT appropriate for today's market.

The A-BAT concept rides on a unibody platform for car-like handling when navigating city streets and crowded parking lots, and smooth ride quality for highway trips and the everyday commute. In addition, its lightweight package coupled with Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive¨ technology is designed to deliver excellent fuel economy. Translucent solar panels in the top surface of the instrument panel capture sunlight and convert it into energy, showcasing the vehicle's "green" character. Positioned below the Toyota Tacoma, A-BAT integrates truck features with carfundamentals for an efficient and modern package.

The A-BAT's unique aerodynamic exterior was crafted by Calty Project Chief Designer Ian Cartabiano and Creative Designer Matt Sperling. They integrated Toyota's design philosophy, "Vibrant Clarity" into the exterior by keeping the design forward-looking, crisp and functional.

The concept's unique look is a combination of the large body surfaces, intersecting tight surface planes, crisp lines and the trapezoidal profile. The A-BAT's 19-inch wheels sit at the vehicle's corners creating a tough and ready

"We studied the 'trapezoid' silhouette from the side profile of the Toyota Prius and applied it to create an entirely new truck image," said Sperling. He further enhanced the trapezoidal profile by placing the cab forward, and using fast angle A- and C-pillars, shortened overhangs, and a sleek front window.

"The bold grille showcases Toyota's reverse trapezoid and T-face theme in a new way," explained Cartabiano. "The bed is defined by the C-pillar and is clearly separated from the cab to allow it to stand out from the rest of the profile."

"The image of a NATO all-terrain military truck inspired us to keep the occupants as far forward as possible to maximize rear bed capacity in this compact package," stated Sperling.

The A-BAT features a four-foot bed, but has more flexibility than the standard pickup truck. A translucent roof panel slides open to allow for tall cargo in the cab. When the pass-through midgate is folded down into the cab the bed lengthens an additional two feet. An open tailgate provides an additional two-foot of bed length. The A-BAT offers customers the versatility of hauling a standard 4x8 sheet of plywood one day, then taking a family on a camping trip to the lake the next.

The bed has features perfect for work and play. These include tailgate lighting for illuminating the load in the bed, a first aid kit and flashlight integrated into the tailgate, sliding tie downs, and an AC power outlet. Items such as sports and leisure equipment can be stored in the lockable drawers in the bed walls. The concept also has additional storage that is accessible through sliding doors conveniently placed in and outside of the truck bed. For even more storage capacity the A-BAT comes with a large sliding drawer beneath the bed, accessible without opening the tailgate.

Although the A-BAT is rugged and has a spirited exterior, the interior team worked to create a modern look for the interior.

"We balanced colors and fabrics that were both bright and vibrant, but also captured an urban-rugged feel with their energetic and geometric qualities," said Alan Schneider, Project Chief Designer.

"The inspiration behind the exposed structure on the interior was drawn from high-end mountain bike frames," added Daryl Harris, Senior Creative Designer. "We applied lightweight construction materials, such as carbon fiber and aluminum, to the instrument panel, console and seats for increased structural rigidity while reducing mass."

The rigid, yet sculptured alloy center console runs between the two front seats and houses a portable power pack. The battery pack offers both AC and DC for a wide variety of applications including powering tools, electrical gear while camping, a laptop computer, small appliances or assisting a vehicle jump start.

The door trim, shoulder, armrest and instrument panel pads and seat cushions are made of a tough, lightweight and comfortable material that can be selected for personalization. In addition the colors are coordinated to enhance the sleek interior environment. The center console and door pockets feature carbon fiber components to complete the durable and modern look.

The four-passenger A-BAT offers numerous seating and storage configurations. In addition to the rear seats folding down with the midgate to extend the cargo bed length, the rear seat cushions can retract beneath the cargo bed to increase rear cab cargo flexibility. A removable storage tray beneath the rear seat offers tie downs and organizing compartments to secure loose cargo.

Inside the A-BAT has a retractable portable navigation unit with a seven-inch diagonal screen and Wi-Fi internet. Other advanced features include a port for portable device assistant synchronization and a hard drive for digital music.

Both the driver and front passenger have a large multi-information display screens on the IP to view the status of their high tech gadgets and HVAC and audio settings.

The solar panels on the dash recapture energy from the sun to assist in the charging of the navigation unit, portable power pack and backlit information displays.

"This concept is the next evolution of the compact truck," said Hunter. "We were able to create a compact truck that's utilitarian, has an original profile compared to other pickup trucks, has a 'small, but tough' character and is economical to operate. The A-BAT is a fun-to-drive, practical package that reflects Toyota's environmental sustainability message."




Four cylinder gas engine with Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive¨


Overall Length: 181.3
Overall Width: 74.4
Overall Height: 64.0
Wheelbase: 112.2
Bed Length: 48.0
Bed Length with Midgate down: 72.0
Bed Length with Midgate and Tailgate down: 96.0
Wheel Size: 19-inch

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I see in the future is a word FUTURE that can creat Global opertunities for all people and all countries . And
      Ive been fighting for years FUTURE Monopoliles FUTURA vs FUTURE by futurevisionariescom
      • 7 Years Ago
      Toyota's interpretation of the Chevy Avalanche...except this vehicle is enviromentally concious. Never knew why GM didn't make a smaller version of the Avalanche, the mid-gate idea is very useful. And the midgate could put into the H3 for further utility. Looking at how the Avalanche was updated, a 3/4th version would've been very popular.

      Chrysler released the Dodge Rampage concept a year or two ago and it was really well thought out.

      Toyota can really do no wrong, especially when they include their Hybrid Synergy drive. Recent mis-steps in quality has done little to tarnish its overall reputation in comparison to GM and Ford. We should expect to see a version of this vehicle soon.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It has a face only a pug owner could love!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hate the name, like the truck, forget the mid gate, make it affordable.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Dodge did this right. It looks cool. It just needs to be built and with fuel efficient powertrain options. http://www.autoblog.com/2006/02/08/chicago-auto-show-dodge-debuts-rampage-truck-concept/
      • 7 Years Ago
      I forgot the automotive tenet, it's a Toyota, so it has to be ugly. Seriously, I don't think Toyota could ever make a design that any of you would like, maybe because your bias is blinding you. I don't like trucks, but I think it looks good, as does the Ridgeline. The interior is horrendous, but the exterior is unique. (And not FJ Cruiser unique, which doesn't work)

      I find it hilarious that if this was a GM Concept, so many would be proclaiming it to be a work of art and how its signs that the General is making a comeback.
        • 7 Years Ago
        toyota makes two good-looking cars: Lexus IS and toyota's FJ. So they're not unable. They just choose to make them ugly, or worse, bland as hell. Then they tout their Hybrid Synergy Drive technology as the savior of the planet, and people just lap it up.

        I'd like to say that people here should give Toyota a break, but frankly, they don't deserve one. At least as long as they're making billions off unwitting consumers.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow! How amazing is it that they've created a midgate to extend the bed for ... Oh, wait! GM has had this since the introduction of the Avalanche/Escalade trucks over five years ago - nice copy job, Toyota. Oh, and your truck is fugly beyond belief!
      • 7 Years Ago
      What a mix. I can see Chevy Cahenne concept, Dodge TTruck concept from one of the 2007 autoshows & Honda Ridgeline. Si seulement la honte tuait, Toyota, tu serais mort depuis longtemps. This Toyota is a shame for such a big company.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I hope they make it and it is a huge flop. GM has their hybrid trucks already in production and winning awards while Toyota shows a concept of a hybrid truck... too slow, showed up late to the party.

      Toyota has always struggled with making concept cars and production cars with ORIGINAL designs. I remember when Toyota showed the first (prev. gen.) Tundra concept - they called it the T-150! http://www.velocityjournal.com/pictures/org/28/499.html
      Ford threatend to sue them so they had to change the name. I blew me away at the time as they actually tried to pull off using that name.

      I am with the others on here who remember the Dodge Rampage concept. That was a beautiful interpretation of a modern small truck. I don't think Nardelli would have the brains to go back and pull that design out of the archives and turn it into a reality. He is too busy counting his money and barking out random orders like making the PR department report to the HR department... he is in an industry he has no clue about and it shows every time he opens his mouth. He is the only leader that should have a permanent PR person attached to his hip just like "PC" in the MAC commercials!
      • 7 Years Ago
      All well and good, but how do the tailgates, transmissions and camshafts hold up?
        • 7 Years Ago
        As well as in any push-car, you J/A.
        Tailgates are fiberglass, there is no transmission, let alone an engine.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think it's ugly.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I would normally say Toyota should can it, but if it's fuel efficient it has a purpose. Also, as Temple says this concept is likely to be far better looking if carried into production.

        I think they should build it, but it should look more like a truck. For example, the windows need to be bigger. The headlights/taillights need to look more Tundra-ish. The triangular "flying buttress" between the cab and bed needs to be made less conspicuous. The proportions and style need to be fixed.

        I usually don't link to my site, but I actually traced over this truck to try to make the truck look a little better. My efforts can be seen here. It's an exact cartoon illustration, excepting the details I was just talking about.

        • 7 Years Ago
        True, and for Toyota's sake I hope it stays a concept for the most part.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Reminds me of the ugly-as-hell Toyota FTX truck concept. Another Calty Design (Toyota California Design) While elements were carried over to the new Tundra; the production version looks 100x better.

        Regardless, its just a concept/
      • 7 Years Ago
      It is supposed to be a truck to start with??? Almost 0 side visibility, almost 0 rear visibility, trunk-size bed and, before I forget, ugly as hell.
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