The statements don't mean much by themselves; a long, ruthless road separates a carmaker's war room from the dealer's showroom, littered with ideas killed during the march from the former to the latter. The hybrid pickup idea has been a wily survivor at Toyota HQ, though. Remember the Toyota A-BAT concept hybrid pickup from 2008? The A-BAT went from imminent arrival to indefinite hold in a year (and with it died Toyota's plans for a small-displacement diesel). In 2011, Toyota announced a collaboration with Ford to bring a hybrid pickup to market. Less than two years later, the tie-up had gifted the world little more than an acrimony, a public break-up, and assurances that both automakers would keep production hybrid pickups on their big boards.
Battery-assisted haulers are on the way. In January, Ford announced plans for a showroom-ready F-150 hybrid by 2020. Behind-the-scenes types posit the arrival of a next-gen Jeep Wrangler hybrid pickup and a mild hybrid in the Ram lineup. Third-party fleet specialists like Workhorse and XLP plan to sell retrofitted hybrid pickups next year, a development certain to massage consumer hearts and minds; Bob-Lutz-approved VIA Motors expects to move 50,000 such vehicles by itself. Having mulled the idea for so long, and with so much imminent movement in the segment, and with a Toyota hybrid already doing righteous work in the Lexus NX 300h - which weighs about the same as a Tacoma - we don't envision Toyota staying out of the game for long.