News, Culture & Society

Toyota HiLux EV version planned for Australia but it could cost $40,000 extra

Plans for an electric Toyota HiLux are 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 fit battery power to the Toyota HiLux 
  • HiLux utes are already getting batteries but it costs an estimated extra $40,000
  • The EV HiLux is likely to be aimed at corporate and government fleet buyers

An electric-powered version of Australia’s favourite vehicle, the Toyota Hi-Lux, could be available in under a year but at a potentially eye-watering cost beyond the average 4WD enthusiast.

Melbourne electric truck manufacturer SEA has announced plans to create an electric version of the best-selling Toyota HiLux 4WD.

SEA and two other electric car manufacturers are already fitting battery power to the smaller Hi-Lux ute models but experts say adapting the vehicles adds at least $40,000 to the retail cost.

The top end Hi-Lux is already priced at $100,000.

A Melbourne electric car manufacturer is in talks with Toyota to produce electric-powered versions of the best-selling HiLux

The new EV HiLux is also likely to be produced in relatively small numbers with a target market of bigger fleet buyers, such as mining companies and government. 

SEA Electric Asia-Pacific president Bill Gillespie confirmed to motoring website carsales.com.au that the corporate sector was the main target audience for creating the Australian-modified electric HiLux.

‘We have significant interest from companies to do 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 second-hand vehicles and fitting them with SEA Electric’s battery power units.

‘We are ready to go, we just have to order the components at scale,’ Mr Gillespie said. 

Adapting HiLuxs to battery power will likely add about $40,000 to the vehicle's price tag

Adapting HiLuxs to battery power will likely add about $40,000 to the vehicle’s price tag

‘So if someone said, ‘Can you build 200 in the second half of next year?’ the answer is ‘absolutely’.

‘It’s just a case of making a plan, securing enough chassis and ordering enough batteries, motors and cabling.’

While this could happen in Melbourne, SEA is a US company with global plants. 

However, Mr Gillespie said talks were still at an early stage with Toyota, which SEA has a strong relationship with.

The Japanese auto giant could still decide they would prefer to create an in-house version of an electric-powered HiLux. 

The Toyota HiLux is Australia's highest selling vehicle with over 52,000 sold in 2021

The Toyota HiLux is Australia’s highest selling vehicle with over 52,000 sold in 2021

Two other smaller Australian electric car-makers, H2X Global and Roev, have also been producing battery-powered HiLux utes. 

Experts believe the conversion of Roev utes adds about $40,000 to the vehicle’s $60,000 price tag.

With many of its competitors are already well advanced in producing electric pick-up trucks and utes Toyota, has been seen as the laggard in the industry. 

However, in December the company unveiled 17 electric ‘concept cars’.  

The new battery powered HiLuxs will be aimed at corporate fleet buyers, such as big mining companies

The new battery powered HiLuxs will be aimed at corporate fleet buyers, such as big mining companies

Toyota’s global chief, Akio Toyoda, said the vehicles were prototypes of models the maker plans to get into the market by 2025.

The HiLux was Australia’s best-selling vehicle in 2021, with 52,801 rolling out of display rooms, ahead of the Ford Ranger with 50,279 units sold.

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk