Toyota reveals powertrain details and much more.
Back in April this year, Toyota revealed an all-new electric vehicle as a concept. It's called the bZ4X, with the first two characters signifying Toyota's "beyond Zero" electrification strategy. This new EV rides on a dedicated battery electric vehicle platform and is the first in a series of new EVs set to be released under the bZ series that Toyota says will emphasize safety and peace of mind. After this is released, we'll see more concepts and future releases as the Japanese automaker aims to bring EVs to the masses. But enough about the distant future - Toyota has revealed more the details of the bZ4X, so let's see what we can look forward to.
Toyota says that the bZ4X is meant to be more than just a means of transport and must be able to "provide enjoyable time and space for passengers." The new EV is also intended to offer remarkable handling ability thanks to a low center of gravity and greater rigidity. This platform, as we know, was jointly developed with Subaru, so when Toyota says that it "pursued off-road performance required for SUVs," you know it has the best minds in the business working on the promise of "smooth, intuitive driving performance."
In addition, Toyota has ensured a high level of battery cell safety thanks to "a body structure adapted to collision from any direction." Peace of mind comes from the promise that Toyota has considered even winter conditions in its aim to provide a battery with a top-class capacity retention ratio of up to 90% after 10 years.
Inside, Toyota has provided an extra wide cabin space that provides as much side-by-side space as a D-segment sedan like the Corolla Altis or a Honda Accord. It also promises class-leading legroom for front and rear occupants, "home-like comfort" thanks to a low instrument panel and the availability of a large panoramic roof, and an upholstered instrument panel for a familiar and comforting feel. Meanwhile, soundproofed glass and a reduction in wind noise are meant to provide a quietness "that stimulates conversation" - or make awkward silences all the more uncomfortable.
Toyota has also focused on efficiency with a lightened body, improved aerodynamics, and low energy consumption thanks to heat pump-type air conditioning and seat and steering wheel heaters complemented by a Toyota first in front-seat radiant foot heating. Furthermore, the bZ4X is compatible with high-output chargers that can provide up to 150 kW on direct current, resulting in 80% charge in just 30 minutes.
Thanks to close development with Subaru, Toyota promises agile response, a linear acceleration feel, and easy pedal control, meaning that you will be able to calmly modulate the throttle on slippery surfaces. In the cockpit, Toyota has placed meters in such a way that they are visible through the upper part of the steering wheel. Speaking of which, some models will steer by wire, meaning that there is no mechanical connection between the steering wheel and tires. Counterintuitively, Toyota says that "steering feel is improved through independently controlling the steering torque that the driver feels and the steering angle of the tires."
Initially for the Chinese market only, a new yoke-style steering wheel will be offered, "improving driving position freedom and ease of entry and exit." From 2022 onwards, other markets will get access to this wheel too. A dial-type shift is another quirky addition but is promised to be easy to operate.
As for design, the car is based on the theme "Hi-Tech and Emotion," which is meant to make the bZ4X look like an EV while also providing a sleek and powerful SUV appearance. The infotainment system is also highly advanced, adopting cloud navigation with charging support and various other displays. Voice recognition, over-the-air updates, and a digital key are also on offer, with the latter possible with your smartphone. Toyota says that when this feature is ready, the digital key can be handed over between smartphones, making vehicle sharing among friends and family easy.
Other highlights include the option of a solar panel on the roof that can generate enough electricity to drive over 1,100 miles a year. This can charge the car in parking lots or in emergencies, ensuring that your chances of getting stuck without juice are minimized dramatically. With the use of recycled materials and a battery that can be effective for years, the car's production makes very little impact on the environment compared to less eco-conscious vehicles. Before we get to the specs of the vehicle, the bZ4X also offers DC external power supply, much like with Ford's F-150 Pro Power Onboard generator.
The front-wheel-drive version of the car will have a base weight of 4,232 pounds, while the AWD model will weigh around 4,420 pounds. As a result, the former manages approximately 310 miles per charge while the latter achieves around 285 miles. In terms of dimensions, the SUV has a length of 184.6 inches, a width of 73.2 inches, a height of 64.9 inches, and a wheelbase of 112.2 inches. The FWD model gets a 150-kW front motor while the AWD version gets an 80-kW motor at the front with another at the rear axle. This means a total system output of 201 horsepower for the FWD car and 214 hp for the AWD version. 0-62 mph takes 8.4 seconds in the front-driven bZ4x and 7.7 seconds with all-wheel grip.
Expect a global launch towards the middle of next year.