Meet Roev, an Australian startup building electric Toyota Hilux utes, with the goal of developing their own electric vehicles.
Electric vehicle conversions have stayed outside of the larger conversation around the electrification of transport systems internationally, but in a lot of ways, they make sense: the chassis and a wealth of components are all there, the car just needs its petrol-reliant parts replaced with a battery, appropriate software and an electric motor (which is no small task).
Brought to our attention by Fleet EV News, Roev sees an opportunity in converting cars like the Toyota Hilux to electric. After all, Toyota’s first mass-produced EV won’t come to Australia until next year (with its sibling vehicle, the Subaru Solterra). So while automakers like Toyota keep the approach to EVs slow and steady (focusing much on PHEVs, like Mitsubishi), startups like Roev see opportunity.
“The ute is the obvious choice because of the size of the market and the fact that there is no outlook at all for mainstream electric utes hitting our shores,” Roev CEO Noah Wasmer is quoted by Fleet EV News as saying.
“They are also among the worst emitters of CO2 being almost 100 per cent diesel and with high kilometres driven due to the nature of their use.”
Utes have long been the most popular type of passenger vehicle in Australia, with sales continuing to grow and government support for their purchase. Utes are subject to the fringe benefits tax exemption, the same tax exemption that the government wants to apply to EVs, which explains much of their popularity.
With that in mind, that second quote from Wasmer is pretty important. Imagine the good that could come from Australia’s ute lovers driving electrified vehicles instead of diesel-fuelled vehicles.
The startup is currently working with businesses and government fleets to transition their vehicles to electric, with plans to design and build its own electric utes in the future.
Roev has built a prototype version of their electrified Toyota Hilux at their base on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. We don’t know the specs of the vehicle at the moment, but considering the range and power of the standard Hilux, it’d have to be quite impressive.
It’s unlikely that Roev will open the purchase of electrified Hilux’s up to the public anytime soon, with fleet sales aimed towards businesses.
Previously, Roev has developed electric conversions of the Land Rover Defender Perentie and the Volkswagen Kombi, but its aim to build fleets of electric ute conversions is far more ambitious.
It’s unclear when Roev will open up sales for their electric Hilux utes, but we’re pretty keen to see the company develop.