Toyota Motor Thailand Launches Pilot Electric Pickups in Pattaya

Toyota Motor Thailand has recently launched a public transport pilot project in Pattaya, featuring nine fully electric Hilux Revo pickup trucks.

This initiative showcases the increasing efforts of Japanese car manufacturers to compete with Chinese companies that have significantly penetrated the electric vehicle (EV) market in Thailand.

Toyota Motor Thailand’s Executive Vice-President, Surapoom Udomwong, announced on Thursday that the battery EV Revo models have been transformed into ‘songtaews’, a term in Thai referring to pickups repurposed for public transportation.

A motorcade of electric pickups travelled through the coastal city of Chon Buri, located 100 km east of Bangkok, to introduce these vehicles designated for fixed-route service.

For years, Japanese automakers like Toyota, Honda, and Isuzu have been leaders in Thailand’s automotive industry.

However, Chinese investments are increasingly influencing the sector, driven by government subsidies and tax benefits, with commitments surpassing $1.4 billion from Chinese EV manufacturers in Thailand.

Chery Automobile is poised to become the eighth Chinese brand investing in Thailand, alongside companies such as BYD, state-owned Changan Automobile, and Great Wall Motors, according to recent government announcements.

Toyota, holding approximately one-third of the Thai market share, is set to deliver twelve electric pickup trucks to Pattaya.

“This is a memorable day,” said Pattaya Mayor Poramet Ngampichet. “Pattaya is a major tourist city for Thailand, and so lowering pollution is important.”

Mayor Poramet expressed his desire to transform all 700 of Pattaya’s songtaews into electric vehicles.

Toyota has disclosed plans to start mass production of the electric Hilux pickup by 2025, though the production location remains unspecified.

In Thailand, pickup trucks account for roughly half of all vehicle sales.

Isuzu is preparing to establish a facility in Thailand to produce the electric variant of its D-Max pickup, aimed at both domestic and international markets, the government reports.