Toyota returns to its compact truck roots with the A-BAT concept vehicle at the 2008 North American International Auto Show



    DETROIT, Jan. 13 /CNW/ - Toyota 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 was unveiled at the 2008 North American International
Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit today. 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 Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) Advanced
Product Strategy group and Calty, Toyota's North American-based, research and
design centre 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 tailgate.
    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 colours 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 fibre
and aluminum, to the instrument panel, console and seats for increased
structural rigidity while reducing mass."
    The rigid, yet sculptured alloy centre 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, and 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 centre console and door pockets
feature carbon fibre 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
information displays.
    "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
    PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS
    -----------

    DRIVETRAIN
    ----------

    Four cylinder gas engine with Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive(R)

    DIMENSIONS:
    -----------

    Overall Length:                               4605.0 mm

    Overall Width:                                1889.8 mm

    Overall Height:                               1625.6 mm

    Wheelbase:                                    2849.9 mm

    Bed Length:                                   1219.2 mm

    Bed Length with Midgate down:                 1828.8 mm

    Bed Length with Midgate and Tailgate down:    2438.4 mm

    Wheel Size:                                     19-inch
    





For further information:

For further information: media@toyota.ca or contact: Kathryn Ruhland,
Manager, Public Relations, Toyota Canada Inc., (416) 431-8333


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