The biggest news in my Inbox this week came from Toyota as they released teaser images of the 2022 Tundra, the company’s full-size truck offering. The information officially from the automaker was akin to having one of those friends who tells you they have a “big secret” but then tells you they can’t say anything about it.
Still, from the images we can infer that the off-road capability will be improved in the TRD versions of the truck. There will clearly be a new large moon roof available and improvements in the transmission with respect to off-road functionality.
Suspension changes will include moving to all-coil spring suspension, which is what the Ram 1500 has. Having an all-coil spring suspension could translate into a very comfortable ride. That’s why that setup is used in the Ram trucks.
Another advantage of all-coil suspension is that you can often add air bags in an afternoon to improve the towing performance (but not cargo carrying capacity) of this type of suspension. In fact, I’ve done just this in my own Ram 1500 and it makes a huge difference.
There is ongoing speculation about a small-displacement diesel engine in these trucks, as well. I mentioned that in last week’s Truck & Towing Trends column.
Towing capability for the Toyota Tundra
No information has been shared about improvements to towing capability for this model. That has always been where the Tundra is not strong in the first place. While Toyota’s V8 has been a great engine, the relatively soft suspension always had us sad when a customer came in to the RV dealership I worked at and mention that they had a Tundra. More often than not, after awhile towing with it they upgraded, often to a Ram 2500.
The Tundra is probably an odd product when you look at it from Toyota’s standpoint. There is almost no market outside North America where it has relevance, but it’s completely relevant here. However, Toyota seems to move only about 100,000 Tundras a year. That isn’t much in the global scheme of things.
Consider that Ford, Ram and GM (Chevrolet/GMC) would lose their minds if they sold fewer than 100,000 units in just a quarter. You can see that the Tundra isn’t a big part of the market. Furthermore, full-sized pickups have the greatest brand loyalty in the automotive world. In other words, if you buy Ford trucks, you buy Ford trucks. People don’t often jump ship, although Ram has made huge inroads in the past decade and Chevrolet is looking very closely in their mirrors at the brand.
While more specifics aren’t available, Toyota seems to often use the term “all-new” when, really, it means restyled and refreshed. I’ll continue to follow the brand to see what further changes are forthcoming, particularly in regard to towing.
Over the last weekend, the company’s website was updated to show production of the electric pickup starting in 2022. At the earliest. The changes follow remarks from company execs during Tesla’s second-quarter earnings call last month.
“[The] Cybertruck is at a stage where we finished basic engineering of the architecture of the vehicle. With the Cybertruck, we are redefining how a vehicle is being made,” Lars Moravy, VP of vehicle engineering said. “As [Tesla CEO Elon Musk] said, it carries much of the structural pack and large casting design of the Model Y being built in Berlin and Austin. Obviously, those take priority over the Cybertruck, but we are moving into the beta phases of Cybertruck later this year and we will be looking to ramp up production at Giga Texas after Model Y is up and running.”
The company was originally meant to begin production of the Cybertruck tri-motor variant, the priciest model, this year. Following that, the dual- and single-motor variants were supposed to follow in 2022. It wouldn’t be surprising if the most affordable Cybertruck variants don’t hit the road until sometime in late 2023, or later, following these changes.
We looked at the CyberLandr™ camper a while back, which is designed to fit snugly into a Cybertruck. But the company hadn’t gotten their hands on the elusive vehicle to make sure of the fit and was delaying their own production until they could. It’s interesting to think of how these production delays affect the companies hoping to strike gold in their own aftermarket products for the vehicle.
On the subject of electric vehicles, Chevrolet is making noise about a forthcoming all-electric Silverado to compete with the Ford Lightning and Tesla Cybertruck. GM claims that the new Silverado will be a completely new vehicle, as opposed to an adaptation of an existing one.
This week company officials teased the fact that the new electric Silverado will be available with four-wheel-steering. Not a new feature for GM, it was available in some GMC pickups in the past, but certainly unique in the field. For now.
Go batteries in your trailer?
My friends at the Green Car Reports website had an interesting idea: What if the batteries that helped move a battery-powered vehicle weren’t in the vehicle itself, but in a travel trailer?
Anybody who has ever towed a travel trailer knows your mileage goes straight into the dumpster when you hook up that trailer. What if the batteries that would help extend the range of towing were those batteries in the trailer?
The trailer in the Green Car Reports article, a German-built E.Home Caravan, was also described as a “rather large caravan” and wouldn’t come close to the mid-size trailers we have here in the U.S. But, if you had something like the Tesla Cybertruck and a travel trailer with a substantial battery pack, this might be an interesting combination.
However, the price of a battery pack that would be equivalent to the one in Tesla’s Model 3 (their least-expensive vehicle at this time) is about $13,500. I’m not sure how many Americans would opt for an option that significant in a travel trailer. Furthermore, the entire trailer chassis would have to be re-engineered. We know our RV industry is not keen on making changes that haven’t appeared first in someone else’s print brochure.
Still, the concept of a large battery in a trailer has a lot of merit for a lot of reasons. I can say I know of a few RV manufacturers that are planning significant battery packages in the near future. So this might be the way to power your electric tow vehicle.
The best pickup for trailer towing?
This is an option that provides an on-board generator that uses a battery aboard the truck along with the engine itself to create enough power to power two travel trailers. At once. In case you missed it, I wanted to draw your attention to Mike’s column in his series on Go Green RV.
Mike is uniquely qualified to really put this power system to the test. Having your truck act as the generator would save time and space while also providing only one gasoline engine to maintain instead of having a second one in the generator itself.
What I really like about this package is that the truck has an electric vehicle side to it, but then a true trailer-towing American horsepower side as well. Then there’s enough generator built in to make this thing something that might make more sense for more trailer owners.
While I realize all the current hype centers around all-electric pickups, I think a hybrid combination like the Ford F-150 with Pro Power Onboard is really something that makes sense to many of us today.
Tony comes to RVTravel having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife.