Toyota Advanced Breakthrough Aero Truck (A-BAT) to Debut in Detroit Next Month
Text: Toyota Motor Sales Press Release Posted: 12-27-07 15:51 PT
Video Source: Toyota Motors Sales
Video Narration: Mike Levine
© 2007

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Update #3: 01-06-08 23:51 PT

An interesting participant has joined the A-BAT discussion thread at GM Inside News.

'meatwad79' is a new GMI member who says he's actually the A-BAT's Creative Designer, Matt Sperling. He goes to bat for the truck, explaining the thought and rationale behind its design and intended purpose, and says that the A-BAT did indeed start out as a compact pickup concept for Scion.

We're going to see if we can get an interview with Mr. Sperling next week in Detroit, when the A-BAT is unveiled live at the auto show.

Update #2: 01-02-08 14:25 PT

Toyota has published some design artwork showing how the A-BAT concept came together. Here are select images.

Update #1: 12-27-07 19:05 PT

Here's exclusive video of Toyota's A-BAT compact pickup concept truck.

And here's a look back at coverage from earlier in 2007 of a rumored Scion pickup we've heard about from sources. Could the A-BAT have spun off from this program?

Asked whether the compact A-BAT was a better fit for the youth-oriented Scion brand instead of Toyota, the A-BAT's PR spokesperson, Allison Takahashi, told that Scion doesn't have any hybrid powertrains available in its current vehicle lineup. It made more sense for the Hybrid Synergy Drive powered A-BAT to receive a Toyota badge.

The A-BAT could also be a way for Toyota to green up its truck image with environmentalists, who have protested at the New York and Los Angeles Auto Shows that Toyota hasn't stuck to the earth-friendly image it created with the Prius hybrid. 5.7-liter V8 engines in Tundras and Sequoias are capable but thirsty motors.

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., returns to its compact pickup truck roots with its latest concept vehicle A-BAT. The environmentally advanced A-BAT provides modern versatility, roominess and style in a compact pickup architecture.

"Driving from beyond the suburbs to the city is a way of life for many people," said Kevin Hunter, president, Calty Design Research, Inc. "We've taken Toyota's truck heritage to a different level by envisioning a vehicle capable of maneuvering the suburbs as well as dirt roads. This compact truck is as comfortable for long commutes as it is for road trips. It can accommodate outdoor toys and home improvement supplies. Plus, customers benefit from the hybrid powertrain’s low emissions and fuel economy."

The A-BAT concept was developed by the TMS Advanced Product Strategy group and Calty, Toyota's North American-based, research and design center located in Newport Beach, Calif. Together, they identified a buyer group whose unique combination of lifestyle activities and vehicle needs required a vehicle that as of now is not available in the market place. The team created a new genre of compact vehicle with good fuel economy, advanced functionality, maneuverability, unique styling within its segment, and a durable package suitable for an active lifestyle. Advanced styling was also key in making the A-BAT appropriate for today’s market.

The A-BAT concept rides on a unibody platform for car-like handling when navigating city streets and crowded parking lots, and smooth ride quality for highway trips and the everyday commute. In addition, its lightweight package coupled with Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive technology is designed to deliver excellent fuel economy. Translucent solar panels in the top surface of the instrument panel capture sunlight and convert it into energy, showcasing the vehicle's "green" character. Positioned below the Toyota Tacoma, A-BAT integrates truck features with car fundamentals for an efficient and modern package.

The A-BAT's unique aerodynamic exterior was crafted by Calty Project Chief Designer Ian Cartabiano and Creative Designer Matt Sperling.  They integrated Toyota’s design philosophy, "Vibrant Clarity" into the exterior by keeping the design forward-looking, crisp and functional.

The concept's unique look is a combination of the large body surfaces, intersecting tight surface planes, crisp lines and the trapezoidal profile.  The A-BAT's 19-inch wheels sit at the vehicle’s corners creating a tough and ready stance.

"We studied the 'trapezoid' silhouette from the side profile of the Toyota Prius and applied it to create an entirely new truck image,” said Sperling. He further enhanced the trapezoidal profile by placing the cab forward, and using fast angle A- and C-pillars, shortened overhangs, and a sleek front window.

"The bold grille showcases Toyota's reverse trapezoid and T-face theme in a new way," explained Cartabiano. "The bed is defined by the C-pillar and is clearly separated from the cab to allow it to stand out from the rest of the profile." 

"The image of a NATO all-terrain military truck inspired us to keep the occupants as far forward as possible to maximize rear bed capacity in this compact package," stated Sperling.

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