2009 Toyota Tacoma 🛻: An Unexpected Non-EV Sibling

Dr Ken Lunde
7 min readDec 25, 2022

By Dr Ken Lunde

2009 Toyota Tacoma Pickup Truck (photo taken on 2022-11-28)

Gasoline is something that my wife and I stopped thinking about after our daughter drove our last remaining ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicle, a 2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD, to Seattle during COVID-19. (We ended up gifting it to her earlier this year, and it is now registered in Washington.) With a pair of Tesla Model 3 EVs that are usually charged in the convenience of our garage using a Level 2 charger, we had no reason to buy gasoline…

…until now.

We recently welcomed to our family a 2009 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck that was given to us by my mother and late father. It is a second generation Tacoma, and as the photo above illustrates, it is the Double Cab (aka crew cab) version. It features 4WD, a 4.0L V6 engine, and automatic transmission.

After taking delivery of our first Tesla Model 3 in September of 2018, we vowed to never buy another ICE vehicle, which explains why we replaced our 2006 Infiniti FX35 Crossover AWD with a second Tesla Model 3 in December of the same year. Of course, we didn’t buy the pickup truck, so our vow is still intact.

As the title of this article cleverly states, this particular 2009 Toyota Tacoma is a sibling to our pair of Tesla Model 3s, because they were built in the same factory. Of course, the factory was owned by NUMMI (New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc.) when the pickup truck was built. NUMMI closed in April of 2010, and Tesla purchased it in May of the same year. The rest is, shall we say, history.

2018 Tesla Model 3 “Baby Pearl” and 2009 Toyota Tacoma (photo taken on 2022-10-09)

Surprisingly, this 2009 Toyota Tacoma still has less than 30K miles on its odometer, which was mainly because it served as my late father’s hunting truck, and we used it when hunting both small and large game. He built a shooting platform that was secured to the bed using bungee cords, which served us well.

Hunting prairie dogs somewhere in South Dakota (photo taken on 2013-07-05)
Hunting prairie dogs somewhere in South Dakota (photo taken on 2016-10-08)
Hunting prairie dogs somewhere in South Dakota (photo taken on 2017-07-22)

I have a lot of great memories that included this pickup truck, and they all involved hunting with my late father. The last time we used it for hunting together was on 2022-07-09. Out of the 25 rounds of hand-loaded .204 Ruger that I fired on that date, I tallied 23 hits. It was a good day.

Hunting prairie dogs somewhere in South Dakota (photo taken on 2022-07-09)

Fast forward to December of 2022.

One of my tasks was to drive the pickup truck to California, which is why my flight from SJC to RAP, with a stop at DEN, was one-way. Given that I was visiting my mother in Hot Springs, South Dakota at the time, I needed to drive on a day that didn’t have any precipitation (aka snow) along the 1,400-mile route. An added complication was that the pickup truck lacked cruise control. In any case, I ended up driving back to California on 2022-12-07, which took just over 19 hours, and which included stopping five times to refuel, in Casper (WY), Rock Springs (WY), West Wendover (NV), Winnemucca (NV), and Auburn (CA). The odometer read 28,238 miles when I left Hot Springs, South Dakota at 1:35AM MST, and read 29,635 miles when I rolled into our driveway in San José, California at 8:45PM PST. I was a somewhat tempted to hop back into the pickup truck to drive another three miles. Do the math.

2009 Toyota Tacoma refueling in Rock Springs, Wyoming (photo taken on 2022-12-07)

My late father was apparently unaware that his pickup truck was subject to four recalls, and the first thing that I did upon returning to California was to have them taken care of at our local Toyota dealer, Capitol Toyota in San José. While there, I also had the upper panels of the rear bumper replaced, because they went missing a few years ago.

2009 Toyota Tacoma with new rear bumper panels (photo taken on 2022-12-17)

The most significant upgrade that I gave the pickup truck was to add running boards, and I ended up ordering OEDRO 6-inch Running Boards that provide easier access to the cab and to the roof with its dual-height steps. I installed them by myself, and the whole process, which included cleaning the frame where the brackets attach and tightening down all 24 bolts, took about two hours. I also replaced the floor mats, mud flaps (the ones on the right side were missing), antenna, front cup holders, and windshield wipers.

2009 Toyota Tacoma with running boards (photo taken on 2022-12-18)

In terms of registering the pickup truck in California, things were a bit complex due to the passing of my father, and the fact that both of my parents’ names were on its South Dakota title, separated by “and,” not “or.” This meant presenting my father’s death certificate, and my mother filling out and signing a California DMV Form REG 5. I also needed to wait until 40 days have elapsed since my father’s passing. In any case, I successfully registered the pickup truck in California on 2022-12-21, which is in the names of my Better Half™ and me, separated by an “or.”

2009 Toyota Tacoma bearing a California license plate (photo taken on 2022-12-21)

For those who were not aware, Tesla EVs can be named, and the names appear on the vehicle screen and in the mobile app, as shown below for “Baby Pearl” and “Baby Ruby”:

We decided to give our 2009 Toyota Tacoma the name “Lucky Truck” after our German Shepherd Dog named “Lucky.” After all, she will be getting most of her rides in the back seat of this pickup truck.

2009 Toyota Tacoma “Lucky Truck” with my Better Half™ and Lucky (photo taken on 2022-12-18)

“Lucky Truck” performed her first duty shortly after Christmas, to transport a year’s worth of aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and beer bottles to Ranch Town Metal Recycling Center that resulted in $94.87.

2009 Toyota Tacoma “Lucky Truck” filled with one year’s worth of recyclables (photo taken on 2022-12-28)

In closing, “Lucky Truck” will soon be bearing sequential California Snoopy license plates, which I ordered on 2022-12-24. I wanted to order a personalized one, but “LUCKY” was already taken, and with a six-character limit, I couldn’t think of anything clever as a substitute. (I am currently retaining personalized California Snoopy license plates for the Tesla Cybertruck that I ordered on 2019-11-22, which read “FEBABY,” short for “Iron Baby.”)

UPDATE: Lucky Truck’s sequential California Snoopy license plates arrived on 2023-01-17, and were immediately installed:

2009 Toyota Tacoma bearing a California Snoopy license plate (photo taken on 2023-01-17)

About the Author

Dr Ken Lunde has worked for Apple as a Font Developer since 2021-08-02 (and was in the same role as a contractor from 2020-01-16 through 2021-07-30), is the author of CJKV Information Processing Second Edition (O’Reilly Media, 2009), and earned BA (1987), MA (1988), and PhD (1994) degrees in linguistics from The University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to working at Apple, he worked at Adobe for over twenty-eight years — from 1991-07-01 to 2019-10-18 — specializing in CJKV Type Development, meaning that he architected and developed fonts for East Asian typefaces, along with the standards and specifications on which they are based. He architected and developed the Adobe-branded “Source Han” (Source Han Sans, Source Han Serif, and Source Han Mono) and Google-branded “Noto CJK” (Noto Sans CJK and Noto Serif CJK) open source Pan-CJK typeface families that were released in 2014, 2017, and 2019, and published over 300 articles on Adobe’s now-static CJK Type Blog. Ken serves as the Unicode Consortium’s IVD (Ideographic Variation Database) Registrar, attends UTC and IRG meetings, participates in the Unicode Editorial Committee, became an individual Unicode Life Member in 2018, received the 2018 Unicode Bulldog Award, was a Unicode Technical Director from 2018 to 2020, became a Vice-Chair of the Emoji Subcommittee in 2019, published UTN #43 (Unihan Database Property “kStrange) in 2020, became the Chair of the CJK & Unihan Group in 2021, and published UTN #45 (Unihan Property History) in 2022. He and his wife, Hitomi, are proud owners of a His & Hers pair of acceleration-boosted 2018 LR Dual Motor AWD Tesla Model 3 EVs.



Dr Ken Lunde

Chair, CJK & Unihan Working Group—Almaden Valley—San José—CA—USA—NW Hemisphere—Terra—Sol—Orion-Cygnus Arm—Milky Way—Local Group—Laniakea Supercluster