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Toyota goes ‘beyond zero’ with electric truck, compact cruiser

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Toyota Motor Company President Akio Toyoda revealed the Japanese automaker’s grand vision for electrification. The plan is called beyond zero (bZ) and will entail a full line of all-electric vehicles including what appears to be a midsize Tacoma-like pickup truck and a compact Land Cruiser-esque SUV — along with a slew of other vehicles.

Previously, we’ve seen the Toyota bZ4X, and Toyota has hinted at more to come. Now, we see the bZ plan includes both the Toyota and Lexus lineup. And it involves Toyota investing $70 billion to get its beyond zero plan in place by the year 2030. If you want more details, you can watch the entire press conference online.

Electric Toyota Tacoma

In our book, one of the most interesting vehicles revealed was what looked like an electrified Tacoma. You can tell it’s electric because of the smaller, blank grille sans grille opening.

What’s most interesting is this isn’t some goofy looking concept, but rather looks to be the next-generation Tacoma following some of the styling cues of the 2022 Tundra — including the new headlights and fender flares. Toyota didn’t call it a Tacoma, however, during the Japanese/English press conference, and there was only one reference to the word truck at all.

Beyond Zero compact Land Cruiser

For fans of the Toyota Land Cruiser, it appears there might be a bZ version in the works, but perhaps more compact in size. Judging by the photo, and even the name on the license plate (compact cruiser EV), this could be a popular offering in Toyota’s future lineup.

The styling rivals that of the Ford Bronco while hearkening back to the cultish FJ Cruiser, and if it’s rugged enough to rival the Jeep Wrangler 4xe as well as have good range, then it would certainly be a game changer for Toyota. Of course, no details were revealed, but we are certainly intrigued.

The bottom line on the Toyota Beyond Zero plan

It shouldn’t come as a shock that Toyota wasn’t the first automaker out the gate with an ambitious all-electric plan.  Other automakers jumped out first, but the conservative-minded Toyota seems to have a well-thought-out plan for what its all-electric lineup might look like.

I appreciate that the concepts they provided seem realistic rather than silly futuristic vehicles. However, as Toyota has pointed out in the past, not all the vehicles in the plan will come to North America — and not all of them will have the bZ moniker before a weird alpha numeric ending either.

The good news, however, is no matter what naming convention Toyota chooses for the truck and compact cruiser, it’s pretty clear these two items are slated for the U.S. market. Can’t come soon enough for us.

If you could put together a wish list of features for this compact truck and cruiser, what would you tell Toyota it should put on the must-have list? Comment below.

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Jimmy Dinsmore

Jimmy is News Editor for PickupTruckTalk with an expertise in new vehicles. He is also a Ford Mustang historian having authored the book Mustang by Design (available on Amazon). His second book, about the history of Ford's F-Series truck comes out next year.

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