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Toyota A-BAT Hybrid Concept

Toyota Tundra CrewMax
Falling full-size trucks sales alter Toyota's plans for a diesel Tundra

2008 has not been a banner year for full-size truck sales. Rising fuel prices caused sales of large pickups like the Ford F-150 and Toyota Tundra to plummet -- large SUVs like the Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Suburban have been hit by the slowing economy and high cost of fuel as well.

Toyota was working on a small diesel engine to give its mammoth Tundra an edge in fuel economy compared to the 5.7-liter V8 gasoline engine. According to a new report from, those plans have now been shelved.

There are multiple reasons for not going forward with plans for the diesel-based Tundra according to including diesel fuel prices, strict emissions regulations for diesel engines, and less than stellar sales of the Tundra for 2008.

While a diesel Tundra may never see the light of day, reports suggest that Toyota is moving ahead with plans to introduce a production version of its A-BAT compact pickup. DailyTech first brought you news of the concept version of the truck back in late December.

The A-BAT features a unibody construction similar to that of the Honda Ridgeline and will likely share a FWD-based platform with the Toyota Highlander. The production version of the A-BAT is said to incorporate a traditional four-cylinder gasoline engine as a base powerplant, while a four-cylinder gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain will be offered as an option.

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Concept Vs Production (styling)
By cherrycoke on 9/22/2008 10:51:22 AM , Rating: 2
Trucks are supposed to look rugged. I would guess the look of this concept vehicle may change quite a bit by the time it hits production, but maybe in this case it would be welcome. I know it is a hybrid and efficiency is a key part of lower fuel consumption but I am not sold on the look.

RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By jgvandemeer on 9/22/2008 11:21:55 AM , Rating: 2
I love that look actually. But I'm sure it will hit production as something much more conservative and boring.

RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By Brandon Hill on 9/22/2008 11:23:31 AM , Rating: 5
Well, this is Toyota, so they will likely deliver on your statement :-)

RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By quiksilvr on 9/22/2008 12:10:44 PM , Rating: 2
Why don't they combine the two? Give it a diesel engine, use hybrid hydraulic technology ( and some form of Blutec ( to cut down the emissions? Either way if you have a diesel-hybrid system the emissions will be lower so it should work out.

By quiksilvr on 9/22/2008 12:11:43 PM , Rating: 3
RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By masher2 on 9/22/2008 1:01:53 PM , Rating: 3
Hybrids are more expensive. Diesel engines, especially with Bluetec are more expensive. A diesel hybrid would be at least $10-$15K more than a standard engine. Most automakers believe the high cost would be a barrier to sales.

RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By Reflex on 9/22/2008 5:55:26 PM , Rating: 2
Hydraulic hybrid systems are estimated to cost only about $2000 overall, which is nothing in the large truck business. The real limitation is that the technology was patented by the EPA and is only being licensed to US manufacturers(since it was paid for by tax dollars). Ford has demo'd a F150 and a Suburban that both get 30/20 city/highway using hydraulic hybrid systems. UPS is testing this technology in their delivery vehicles as well. The beauty of hydraulic hybrids is that they do not require a second engine, its simply a different suspension system designed to recapture momentum when braking.

By quiksilvr on 9/23/2008 5:05:31 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know why people jump at the word "hybrid". I'm talking about hydraulic hybrids which don't require a battery or a second engine. The only reason they cost $2000 is because they have constant pressure fluctuations and therefore are made out of carbon fiber, but other than that it's ideal for big vehicles.

RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By Samus on 9/23/2008 6:41:31 AM , Rating: 4
Heh, my thoughts exactly. Toyota hasn't developed anything exciting since the last Supra...15 years ago. Sure, the MR2 and Celica were cool up until they canned them, but honestly the company makes a whole lot of boring cars.

They have their sights set on making money and reliable vehicles. However, cheap, reliable vehicles aren't want many consumers want. Otherwise, nobody would buy Volvo's, Ford's, Audi's, Citroen's, BMW' get the point.

Hey Toyota! The Matrix isn't an acceptable answer to your missing sports car market. And if you're going to keep making S-type's such as the Corolla S and the Yaris S, why don't you actually make them sporty and give them a pair of nuts.

RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By theapparition on 9/23/2008 11:04:16 AM , Rating: 3
However, cheap, reliable vehicles aren't want many consumers want.

Toyota unquestionably sells boring/bland vehicles.
Toyota has the strongest car sales currently.

Hence, your statement is incorrect. It's quite obvious that the masses want boring cars.

By GaryJohnson on 9/23/2008 3:30:52 PM , Rating: 3
... or cheap cars... and boring cars are cheap cars (or is it that cheap cars are boring?)

Every exciting new car that comes out has an inflated price tag, even if all the excitement is in the body styling and not the function/performance.

RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By xphile on 9/22/2008 8:47:57 PM , Rating: 2
A-BAT? It looks more like A-BRICK if you ask me.

RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By thepalinator on 9/22/2008 11:25:20 AM , Rating: 2
Look at that short bed, man. It's not a work truck, its a suburbanite haul-my-occasional-junk-around truck.

RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By Brandon Hill on 9/22/2008 11:27:46 AM , Rating: 5
Which would describe about 75% of the F-150s you see on the road complete with 18" or 19" factory wheels, moonroofs, nav systems, rear-seat DVD players etc.

Why else would sales be tanking so badly? People are finally realizing they don't need a full-size pickup to go to the grocery store or to work.

RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By ebakke on 9/22/2008 11:45:55 AM , Rating: 2
rear-seat DVD players

Seriously? You can get that in an F-150? Seems like your face would be in the screen.

RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By Brandon Hill on 9/22/2008 11:49:30 AM , Rating: 2

DVD player/LCD screen mounted in the ceiling for the rear-seat passengers.

RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By ebakke on 9/22/2008 12:51:31 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I understand the item. I just didn't realize the back seat was large enough to provide any real distance from your head to the LCD. Seems like you'd be looking 45-degrees left, instead of looking forward (like you could in, say, a minivan).

RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By Spuke on 9/22/08, Rating: 0
RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By flydian on 9/23/2008 12:42:10 AM , Rating: 2
Of course it does. It just took high gas prices to help them realize it.

RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By Spuke on 9/23/2008 2:26:45 PM , Rating: 2
I was being sarcastic.

By FITCamaro on 9/22/2008 12:32:50 PM , Rating: 3
Trucks are supposed to look rugged.

Trucks now days are status symbols and compensation devices. So they no longer need to be rugged.

RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By schrodog on 9/22/2008 1:32:50 PM , Rating: 2
Trucks are supposed to look rugged.

Well, if you take the side and rear windows out, place a Gatling gun platform in the bed, and slap on some green paint, then it might just start resembling the Warthog from Halo.

RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By FITCamaro on 9/22/2008 2:02:40 PM , Rating: 3
The next Jeep wrangler should look like the Warthog. They'd sell millions.

RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By Alexvrb on 9/22/2008 7:29:45 PM , Rating: 2
That would even be almost plausible if Chrysler wasn't so fixated on using the Jeep name primarily to sell more on-road SUVs, these days.

I might add that it should not only LOOK like a Warthog, but it should drive like one too. Gun turret optional, but highly recommended. Folds down for when you're traveling on a pesky ROAD. :P

RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By lagomorpha on 9/22/2008 7:45:33 PM , Rating: 2
Does that include the ridiculous all wheel steering and tendency to roll over every time you turn? Actually that second one does sound lie a Jeep thing...

By FITCamaro on 9/23/2008 7:41:19 AM , Rating: 2
I never had a problem with it overturning unless I took a corner at full speed while hitting a rock. You know. Like real cars do.

And its all wheel steering is completely possible. There have been several cars with all wheel steering. Just not to that degree because they were passenger cars and large wheel wells reduce interior space.

RE: Concept Vs Production (styling)
By Alexvrb on 9/23/2008 9:55:51 PM , Rating: 2
LOL if you drive *anything* like you do in a halo game, you'll quickly find out how many spare lives you have left. :)

Possible typo...
By austinag on 9/22/2008 11:23:52 AM , Rating: 2
I think there has been a mistake, the above article shows a picture of a Honda Ridgeline with angry headlights added for drama, but it's labeled as Toyota A-BAT. This is clearly a typo because Toyota would never so blatantly rip off another car company's designs.
#include <sarcasm.h>

RE: Possible typo...
By Brandon Hill on 9/22/2008 11:25:21 AM , Rating: 3
And the Ridgeline ripped off the original Chevy Avalanche :)

RE: Possible typo...
By 67STANG on 9/22/2008 11:32:09 AM , Rating: 4
And the Avalanche ripped off Ugly.

RE: Possible typo...
By Nik00117 on 9/22/2008 11:37:15 AM , Rating: 4
And Ugly ripped off...

Nope sorry Ugly was original.

RE: Possible typo...
By an0dize on 9/22/2008 12:42:35 PM , Rating: 3
I'm pretty sure the Pontiac Aztec is the #1 contender for the ugliest vehicle ever.

RE: Possible typo...
By Jimbo1234 on 9/22/2008 1:56:06 PM , Rating: 2
Well, the AMC pacer was quite ugly as well, but yeah, the Aztek is the fugliest thing to come out in the last decade. The Buick equivelant was not much better.

RE: Possible typo...
By masher2 on 9/22/2008 3:00:54 PM , Rating: 4
I think this Fiat beats it hands down...even if it isn't sold on this side of the pond:

RE: Possible typo...
By FITCamaro on 9/22/2008 3:12:27 PM , Rating: 4
Ok it wins. Looks like something that would have been created (or should have been) in the automotive themed version of Spore.

RE: Possible typo...
By flydian on 9/23/2008 12:41:22 AM , Rating: 2
Who stuck doors and a hard top on my golf cart?!

RE: Possible typo...
By FITCamaro on 9/22/2008 12:34:13 PM , Rating: 2
The Avalanche looks good without all the plastic trim on the side. I'm a fan of just the base Silverados and GMC 1500s styling.

astronomical diesel fuel prices???
By Desslok on 9/22/2008 11:02:35 AM , Rating: 2
At the worst diesel was only a dollar more than gas. Calm down with the adjectives. Also who says you have to buy diesel at the pump you can always make your own. Granted it will void your warranty if you get caught, but so will a power programmer.

By Brandon Hill on 9/22/2008 11:14:13 AM , Rating: 2
Also who says you have to buy diesel at the pump you can always make your own . Granted it will void your warranty

Let's marinate on that one for a sec... ;)

By Locutus465 on 9/22/2008 11:19:23 AM , Rating: 2
Considering what gas costs today (particularly in raleigh nc) I'd say that's an appropriate adjative, esp when you consider that the make your own option voids your warrenty.

RE: astronomical diesel fuel prices???
By Spuke on 9/22/2008 11:29:38 AM , Rating: 2
In my area, diesel is now cheaper than premium.

By The0ne on 9/22/2008 3:29:36 PM , Rating: 2
A bit more expensive in San Diego for Diesel than Premiun. Might just be Shell though as I've not check the other stations :D

RE: astronomical diesel fuel prices???
By masher2 on 9/22/2008 4:05:20 PM , Rating: 2
One also has to remember the taxes are higher on diesel. US refining capacity is also set to heavily favor gasoline, which further bulks up the price.

But if diesel cars ever became a large share of the market, we could expect one or both those factors to be addressed in diesel's favor.

By Reflex on 9/22/2008 6:06:18 PM , Rating: 2
Another point on this is that people look at the per gallon price without factoring in that a gallon of diesel takes you 30-35% further than a gallon of gas in an equivilent vehicle. My diesel Jeep Liberty averages 24.5mpg typically, the gas version does 17mpg on average or so. Despite the higher price of the fuel and the $1800 it added to the base cost of my vehicle, the extra mileage and the half as frequent service intervals(diesels have a much lower service schedule) meant that the diesel option paid for itself in about 2.5 years from date of purchase. Plus the depreciation on the vehicle has been *much* slower which keeps the resale value higher(its worth more than I owe on it currently, can't say that about many vehicles).

Diesel prices have not been 30% higher than gasoline prices, even at their worst. As a result you still saved money at the pump if you bought diesel, despite its higher price per gallon.

So to clarify:
By foolsgambit11 on 9/22/2008 12:44:13 PM , Rating: 2
The Highlander has a hybrid option. They're going to make a truck, based on the Highlander, which will have a hybrid option. Not exactly a surprise.

On another note, considering that the Tundra and the A-BAT are totally different market segments, can we assume that Toyota is giving up on the 'real' truck segment?

Timely Info
By bldckstark on 9/22/2008 12:50:48 PM , Rating: 2
It sure does take a long time for this information to filter down to street level. The diesel was shelved in early 2007.

I work in a manufacturing facility that makes Tundra parts (among others). The diesel was to be launched in November this year, but didn't make the cut. Several changes and upgrades are occurring in November, but no diesel.

Two words:
By mezman on 9/22/2008 3:01:12 PM , Rating: 1
Butt ugly!

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