It’s official: an electric vehicle based on the Isuzu D-Max is the works.
In words reported by AutoExpress, Shinsuke Minami, Isuzu’s chief operating officer, told the press at last week’s launch of the facelifted D-Max in Bangkok, Thailand: “Isuzu is actively taking efforts to realise a carbon-neutral society. Going forward, Isuzu plans to produce a BEV [Battery Electric Vehicle] pickup truck in Thailand.
“Isuzu will first introduce it in Europe and then examine its gradual roll out by meeting the needs of each market, including Thailand.”
Minami-san didn’t elaborate on the electric ute’s power, torque, and range figures, nor what body styles will be available or the timeframe for production.
According to an earlier report from the Nikkei, the electric ute will be launched first in Norway in 2025. Norway is famed for its EV-friendly policies, which include reduced sales taxes and registration fees, as well as preferential road and parking access.
It makes sense the initial focus of the electric ute is Europe, as the EU is effectively banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035, and Europeans are increasingly switching to electric vehicles (EVs). On the Continent, sales of electric cars overtook diesels in June this year.
It’s likely the electric Isuzu ute will go on sale in Thailand not long after becoming available in Europe. This will shore the company’s position in the ever-popular ute market, which accounts for around 40 per cent of all vehicle sales in Thailand. Toyota will reportedly launch an electric HiLux later this year.
Launching an EV based on the D-Max will also counter the growing threat from Chinese manufacturers, who are largely responsible for the growth of EV sales that now represent around eight per cent of the Thai new car market.
The Japanese business publication believes Isuzu’s electric ute will be based on the D-Max. It’s unclear how much visual differentiation the electric ute would have from existing diesel-powered D-Max variants, and what type of badging it will take on.
Australian availability of the electric Isuzu has yet to be confirmed. We also don’t know if the D-Max’s platform mate, the Mazda BT-50, will gain an electric version too.
The electric D-Max won’t be Isuzu’s first foray into the world of electric vehicles, as the company launched a light-duty electric truck earlier this year.
MORE: Everything Isuzu D-Max