New Company Turns Old Toyota Corollas Into Tiny $35k Electric Pickup Trucks

You may have noticed that there still aren’t any small electric pickup trucks for sale in America yet. This feels strange. While we expect an electric Ford Maverick, we ain’t got it yet. Size isn’t the only factor here. The only electric pickup trucks on the market are so expensive only the well-heeled can even pretend to think about buying one. Thanks to a little company in Stratford, Canada, now there are tiny electric pickup trucks made from old Toyota Corollas that only cost $35k. 

A red 2012 Toyota Corolla compact car driving down a street
2012 Toyota Corolla | Toyota

Is there a cheap electric pickup truck? 

Canada is getting an affordable electric pickup truck option soon, thanks to the folks at Upcycle Green Technology. These pickup truck wizards take old 2009-2013 Toyota Corollas, many of which are scheduled for the scraper, and transform them into something lovely. 

These remanufactured Corollas return as tiny little electric utes for folks who need a work vehicle. According to The Drive, these Corollas often go to tradespeople, builders, and fleet companies. While these homespun Corollas don’t have much range or power, they are efficient and cheap to run. 

Are these Toyota Corolla pickup trucks any good? 

Upcycle Green Tech truck
Upcycle Green Tech truck | UGT

Natal Antonini, the company’s founder, claims these little converts only use about $2.50 of electricity in 100 km. This cost, compared to the $30 worth of fuel they’d spend on driving the same distance in an ICE truck, shows real promise for fleets or even local handypeople. According to Upcycle, replacing several trucks in a fleet with these Corolla pickups could save thousands of dollars over a year. 

The Drive explains that Antonini made his way from Brazil to the rugged Prince Edward Island to start this company with help from ​​Canada’s provincial nominee program. “We have a lot of these small pickup trucks in Brazil, but here in North America, it’s hard to find one. So we think there is a good niche market for this kind of vehicle.” 

His hope is that, with these converted little pickup trucks, local electricians, plumbers, and other trade jobs can use these vehicles for their utility while keeping fuel costs to a minimum. The rising cost of fuel has devastated some smaller businesses that require utility vehicles like trucks that aren’t very fuel efficient. 

Antonini says the Toyota Corollas get 93 miles of range. While this doesn’t compare to most production EVs today, for only $35k and it being a pickup truck, it’s pretty hard to beat. Although cost and utility are the main goals, Antonini says the company is working on a longer-range model that will cost more money. 

What kind of motor powers the Corolla pickups? 

Upcycle Green Tech schematics
Upcycle Green Tech schematics | UGT

Upcycle won’t say exactly what batteries or motor they are using. However, the website does say the motor should make 136 hp powered by a 26 kWh battery. Antonini estimates that Upcycle should be able to make 100 units per year, eventually creeping up to 200 per year. 

Companies like this feel like the appropriate approach to dealing with the many issues our world faces today. If this wild plan works, every vehicle the UGT makes will take a chunk of trash out of the world, lighten the load on the new car supply, and provide affordable utility vehicles for the folks who need them. This is a beautiful thing.

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