Toyota is pulling out all the stops for Japan Mobility 2023. The automaker will be there en masse with concepts, including an electric pickup truck called EPU that doesn't look too far removed from production. Could this preview a future Tacoma EV? Toyota calls it a "next-generation mid-size pickup truck concept" but the numbers don't quite add up.

In its announcement, Toyota states the EPU is just over 4.87 metres long and rides on a 3.35-metre wheelbase, which is more in line with smaller trucks like the Ford Maverick. Its 1.82-metre width and height of just under 1.82 metre also aim it at a smaller segment. It uses a monocoque structure, also like the Maverick, and it's a small four-door with room for five.

Gallery: Toyota EPU Pickup Truck Concepts

Of course, there's a significant difference when it comes to what's under the bonnet. On that front, Toyota doesn't have any information at this time regarding the EPU's powertrain, other than to say it's electric. That means you won't find anything under the bonnet, but the off-road tyres suggest a dual-motor powertrain is part of the equation.

There's no denying that, in the world of wonky concepts, this one looks closer to production than most. Among other things, the EPU is presented with a full interior featuring a single digital display incorporating driver and centre infotainment functions. It's part of a stepped dash with a flat lower half and a yoke for the driver. It looks very production-spec, and moving our gaze to the outside, we see a small bed at the back with a modular tailgate that can split in two on the horizontal plane, creating a bit more space in the bed to haul longer items – another sign that Toyota has Maverick on the brain.

And why wouldn't the Japanese brand be thinking about Ford's small truck? Demand for the Maverick has been strong since its introduction, with the Hyundai Santa Cruz being its only true competitor. And while other brands are working on full-size electric trucks, sneaking in a small pickup for a next-gen launch could catch others off guard.

The EPU will join several other Toyota concepts, including the Land Cruiser Se, at the Japan Mobility Show in Tokyo. Doors open to the public on 26 October.

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