Toyota unveiled the A-BAT Concept at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. According to Toyota, A-BAT represents a return to the company's compact pickup truck roots but with several modern twists. Indeed, the maker's smallest current U.S. pickup offering, Tacoma, measures 221 inches long in crew-cab form, more than two feet longer than the largest Toyota pickup offered 20 years ago. The A-BAT Concept brings Toyota back to its true compact pickup days and comes in at a decidedly trimmer 181 inches overall.
Tidier packaging isn't the only thing that distinguishes A-BAT from production Toyota pickups. Instead of traditional, truck-style body-on-frame construction like Tacoma, A-BAT uses car-type unibody construction. A-BAT also differs from Tacoma in offering Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive. Similar to the system found in Toyota's thrifty Prius, the hybrid drivetrain incorporates a 4-cylinder gasoline engine with electric motor assist.
Though A-BAT's cargo bed measures only four feet overall, a translucent roof panel slides open to accommodate taller cargo inside the cab. Cargo handling is further enhanced by a pass-through "midgate" similar to what General Motors offers in the large Cadillac Escalade EXT and Chevrolet Avalanche pickups. The midgate folds into the cab, expanding the bed length by an additional two feet.
Other A-BAT features include a removable navigation system, a hard drive for storing digital music files, and built-in Wi-Fi Internet access. For the moment, this truck is just a concept. At the rate Toyota is expanding its product portfolio, however, it wouldn't be surprising if an A-BAT-inspired vehicle were to eventually hit showrooms.