TORRANCE, Calif., Jan. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- 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. The
A-BAT will be on display at the Toyota exhibit in Detroit at the 2008 North
American International Auto Show beginning Monday, Jan. 14.
"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(R)
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.
The A-BAT features a four-foot bed, but has more flexibility than the
standard pickup truck. A translucent roof panel slides open to allow for
tall cargo in the cab. When the pass-through midgate is folded down into
the cab the bed lengthens an additional two feet. An open tailgate provides
an additional two-foot of bed length. The A-BAT offers customers the
versatility of hauling a standard 4x8 sheet of plywood one day, then taking
a family on a camping trip to the lake the next.
The bed has features perfect for work and play. These include tailgate
lighting for illuminating the load in the bed, a first aid kit and
flashlight integrated into the tailgate, sliding tie downs, and an AC power
outlet. Items such as sports and leisure equipment can be stored in the
lockable drawers in the bed walls. The concept also has additional storage
that is accessible through sliding doors conveniently placed in and outside
of the truck bed. For even more storage capacity the A-BAT comes with a
large sliding drawer beneath the bed, accessible without opening the
Although the A-BAT is rugged and has a spirited exterior, the interior
team worked to create a modern look for the interior.
"We balanced colors and fabrics that were both bright and vibrant, but
also captured an urban-rugged feel with their energetic and geometric
qualities," said Alan Schneider, Project Chief Designer.
"The inspiration behind the exposed structure on the interior was drawn
from high-end mountain bike frames," added Daryl Harris, Senior Creative
Designer. "We applied lightweight construction materials, such as carbon
fiber and aluminum, to the instrument panel, console and seats for
increased structural rigidity while reducing mass."
The rigid, yet sculptured alloy center console runs between the two
front seats and houses a portable power pack. The battery pack offers both
AC and DC for a wide variety of applications including powering tools,
electrical gear while camping, a laptop computer, small appliances or
assisting a vehicle jump start.
The door trim, shoulder, armrest and instrument panel pads and seat
cushions are made of a tough, lightweight and comfortable material that can
be selected for personalization. In addition the colors are coordinated to
enhance the sleek interior environment. The center console and door pockets
feature carbon fiber components to complete the durable and modern look.
The four-passenger A-BAT offers numerous seating and storage
configurations. In addition to the rear seats folding down with the midgate
to extend the cargo bed length, the rear seat cushions can retract beneath
the cargo bed to increase rear cab cargo flexibility. A removable storage
tray beneath the rear seat offers tie downs and organizing compartments to
secure loose cargo.
Inside the A-BAT has a retractable portable navigation unit with a
seven-inch diagonal screen and Wi-Fi internet. Other advanced features
include a port for portable device assistant synchronization and a hard
drive for digital music.
Both the driver and front passenger have a large multi-information
display screens on the IP to view the status of their high tech gadgets and
HVAC and audio settings.
The solar panels on the dash recapture energy from the sun to assist in
the charging of the navigation unit, portable power pack and backlit
"This concept is the next evolution of the compact truck," said Hunter.
"We were able to create a compact truck that's utilitarian, has an original
profile compared to other pickup trucks, has a 'small, but tough' character
and is economical to operate. The A-BAT is a fun-to-drive, practical
package that reflects Toyota's environmental sustainability message."
TOYOTA A-BAT CONCEPT PICKUP TRUCK
Four cylinder gas engine with Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive(R)
Overall Length: 181.3
Overall Width: 74.4
Overall Height: 64.0
Bed Length: 48.0
Bed Length with Midgate down: 72.0
Bed Length with Midgate and
Tailgate down: 96.0
Wheel Size: 19-inch
SOURCE Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc.