> Toyota’s first EV
> New e-TNGA electric architecture
> Fresh design language
> Range of over 280 miles
> Developed in partnership with Subaru
> Pricing TBC
It might sound like a model of printer or fax machine, but the Toyota bZ4X is actually a very significant milestone for Toyota. While the Japanese firm has always been at the forefront of electrification, this car will launch as the marque’s first all-electric model in 2022.
This SUV will usher in a modified design langue for Toyota that embraces an EV’s lack of need for a large grille. The front facia is characterised by more subtle creases and a distinctive horizontal bar loaded with sensors – something that enables various levels of autonomous driving. A thin band of narrow headlights lead around to contrasting two-tone paint elements that enhance the bZ4X’s wheel arches.
In profile, it doesn’t look too dissimilar to the existing RAV4, but a more dynamic rear end separates this future model. Prominent shoulders and an aggressive C-pillar add a more sporting aesthetic. A bold lighting signature spans the rear, completing a concept that points towards Toyota’s future.
The Toyota bZ4X's interior confirms how close to production the concept car's vision actually was. Ok, so the Tesla-styled 'yoke' steering wheel has been ditched, but the interesting architecture remains. Some familiar Toyota switchgear features, but new is a series of textile surfaces that create a warmer environment than the often characterless facias of other cars.
A large centre console is headed by a substantial touchscreen of an undisclosed size. There’s also a digital instrument panel mounted above the steering wheel and close to the windscreen, something akin to the previous generation Honda Civic. While somewhat futuristic, the cabin looks close to production with clear thought being put into storage and material choices.
This car sits on the new e-TNGA electric vehicle architecture, meaning that it's bespoke nature allows for good interior space. Toyota claims that rear legroom is on par with cars in the segment above. It's keen to emphasise this as a family space.
Toyota is yet to release any details on the infotainment system, but we’d expect the large touchscreen to run its very latest software. There are also a series of additional buttons at the screen’s base to supplement and provide shortcuts to various menus. These appear to be haptic buttons as opposed to traditional physical controls.
Typically, Toyota’s infotainment systems haven’t been the most ergonomic, being very text-heavy and not ideal for use on the move. However, its latest models to incorporate its very latest operating system that aims to be an improvement. From the images released it's clear that Toyota is keen to highlight the car's Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.
As mentioned, the Toyota bZ4X concept introduces a new e-TNGA platform that will underpin many of Toyota’s future EVs. It’s scalable, meaning that it can be adapted for different sized vehicles. Being an electric car platform, it doesn’t have to accommodate an engine and other such mechanicals – it can take advantage of the additional space on offer.
Toyota is claiming that this SUV has the rear legroom of a D-segment car, and images of the rear bench show a flat floor for passengers. With the batteries stored flat in the chassis, there is more freedom for interior designers to create additional space and storage options.
The mantra of space translates into the boot, of which measures up to 452-litres – just a little smaller than the Nissan Ariya. The boot aperture is large to aid with loading, and a flat floor should also make lugging heavier items into place much easier.
The Toyota-Subaru developed car is all-electric and will be offered in two different flavours. In entry-level guise, it is equipped with a single 201bhp electric motor that can do 0-62mph in 8.4 seconds. Torque for the base car is pegged at a healthy 265Nm of torque. The most potent model features dual electric motors and churns out 214bhp and 336Nm or torque. This bump in electrical muscle results in a faster 0-62mph sprint of just 7.7 seconds.
Cars equipped with a pair of electric motors enable all-wheel drive, something that Subaru has been responsible for during development. Considering the marque's 4x4 heritage, we should expect some strong performance when leaving the beaten track.
The key to this new drivetrain is battery management that aims to extend the vehicle’s overall range. Toyota’s 20 years of creating electrified vehicles yields a lot of experience when it comes to building durable machines, and so by tuning the motor, control unit and battery management system it aims to provide a competitive range even in cold conditions
Powering the electric motors is a 71.4kW battery pack that according to official WLTF testing should return up to 280 miles of range. Charging can be done at up to 150kW, so if you can find a rapid charger, an 80% charge can take as little as 30 minutes.
Originally revealed at the Shanghai Motor Show, the Toyota bZ4X will be hitting UK roads in the first part of 2022. Order books open from 15th December 2021 for anyone keen to be amongst the first to bag Toyota's first all-electric production car. It is expected that the Subaru Solterra sister car will be announced shortly after.
While pricing has yet to be announced, we’d expect pricing to track just above the competition, with Toyota justifying its premium via its well-established record for reliability.