According to a recent report published by Automotive News, Toyota just announced today, Tuesday, July 19, 2002, that it plans to work with "allied automakers" in an effort to develop small electric commercial vans. The automaker also has plans for light-duty electric pickup trucks with hydrogen fuel-cell technology.

Toyota says it will manufacture around 600 electric vehicles for a project that consists of transporting items back and forth between Tokyo and Fukushima prefecture. The project is expected to run through 2030. The upcoming EVs will not only be used for the special project, but also to encourage EV adoption. Toyota hopes to promote the use of electric vehicles in a similar capacity across the globe, and eventually launch such EVs for mass-market use.

The Japanese automaker isn't planning to tackle these future vehicles or the related project on its own. Instead, the brand says it will partner up with Daihatsu and Suzuki to develop the small electric commercial vans. The goal is to begin producing the vans in 2023, with a broader goal to begin mass-market production once it makes sense.

Daihatsu specializes in "minivehicles," the type of which are pretty much exclusive to Japan. In fact, Automotive News writes that these so-called "mini-commercial vehicles" make up some 60 percent of Japan's commercial fleet countrywide. This is because they're able to travel to and access areas where typical commercial vehicles simply won't fit.

As far as the electric light-duty trucks are concerned, Toyota says it will develop them as a joint effort with Isuzu and Hino. The automaker made it clear that these trucks will benefit from hydrogen fuel-cell technology, which Toyota is still supporting and promoting, along with just a few other automakers.

Do you think Toyota, along with its partners, will bring these types of electric vehicles to the mass market sooner rather than later?

The brand hasn't specified a timeline, aside from suggesting that it may bring them to market when it's "suitable." In addition, with the special project potentially extending from 2023 through 2030, it's difficult to estimate when the mass-market plans may materialize. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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