Is This An Electric Tundra Test Mule?

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A Tesla visitor recently spotted an electric Toyota Tundra on the company grounds. This truck, which seems to have a Tesla battery control module in the bed, could be a test mule for an electric Tundra.

Is This An Electric Tundra Test Mule?

Is This An Electric Tundra Test Mule?

In May 2010, Toyota and Tesla announced their intentions to work together to build an electric RAV4, and it must be remembered that Toyota is one of Tesla’s largest investors, so the possibility that this is a testing platform is real.

The test mule's plugged gas tank

The gas tank is clearly setup for an electric.

Why would this truck be a good test platform?

  1. It’s a longbox extended cab, which means it has plenty of room for a pickup-truck sized battery pack.
  2. It’s a base Tundra Grade model, which means there are a minimal number of accessories that require electricity, not to mention it’s the least expensive vehicle Toyota makes, which means it’s the most affordable to hack to pieces for testing
  3. Most importantly, the gas tank is clearly plugged
The Tundra Test Mule's Engine

It sure looks like an electric Tundra.

What does this mean for Tundra owners?

It’s been known for a few months now that Ford and Toyota are co-developing a hybrid powertrain for the Tundra and F150, with the expected release date being in 2016. An electrified Tundra co-produced with Tesla might not debut until after the hybrid Tundra hits the ground (if it debuts at all), but a plug-in version of the Tundra hybrid makes a ton of sense.

To us, this looks like the real deal. What do you think?

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Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. mk says:

    Doesn’t look much like a work truck. They will have to install all the stuff in the bed elsewhere to make it a functioning work truck run on electricity. Great idea, but will it ever come into market – doubt it?

    • Jason (Admin) says:

      mk – If it’s legit, it’s just a test vehicle. These “mules” are just for proof-of-concept. If it were to come to market (and I think a plug-in hybrid Tundra makes all kinds of sense), obviously all the controllers and gear would be integrated into the engine compartment somewhere so it wouldn’t take up bed space. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Mickey says:

    All that stuff could fit where the gas tank was.

  3. Tesla HQ Visitor says:

    Actually, this was a testbed mule for the Model S power train. This has nothing to do with being a truck other than it was big enough to install the stuff on for drive testing. It’s normally parked outside at Tesla HQ.

  4. DrLou says:

    This truck may not be a test mule for a fully electric pickup, however there have been recent rumors that Tesla is interested in building a pickup. As long as it has a per charge range of +200 mile and can be charged fairly quickly, I think a fully electric full-size pickup would make sense for all applications. However for most local uses a 100-mile range would be adequate. Personally, I’d like to see a fully electric compact pickup that could be used as a life-style truck.

  5. […] truth is that Tesla has been looking into this for quite a while. There has been a Toyota Tundra, Tesla powered test truck spotted and it is feasible to think that other manufactures have a similar vehicle in their test […]

  6. […] on how to implement an electric powertrain in a truck. In case you didn’t know, there is a Toyota Tundra Tesla-powered test mule already out […]

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