The bZ4X can't get near its WLTP figure in cold weather.
There's another entry on the list of things that have gone wrong for the Toyota bZ4X. The latest bad news is that its range is not as extensive as advertised.
This issue was highlighted by the Scandinavian publication Motor, which found that the bZ4X's range is drastically diminished during cold weather testing. This issue has become so contentions that it has forced Toyota Europe and Japan to open an official investigation into the matter.
The Toyota bZ4X is the first in a new series of "Beyond Zero" EVs, and it had a rough start in life. Its wheels famously came off, and it took Toyota three months to devise a solution, which was to tighten the lugnuts properly. The Japanese giant doesn't make mistakes often, but when it does...
The test undertaken by the Scandinavian publication revealed that, at 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit, the front-wheel-drive model could only manage 153 miles before requiring a charge, and the all-wheel-drive model was even more disappointing, with a maximum range of only 134 miles. The single-motor FWD model delivered less than 49% of its claimed range, while the dual-motor AWD model delivered less than 47%.
The base model develops 201 hp and 196 lb-ft of torque, while the AWD version pushes 214 hp and 248 lb-ft. FWD models get a 71.4 kWh battery, while AWD models are equipped with a 72.8 kWh battery.
It's worth keeping in mind that the Scandinavians used WLTP figures relevant to that market for the percentage comparison, not those provided by the EPA. The EPA-estimated figures for US-spec models are 252 miles for the FWD and 228 miles for the AWD.
"It is normal that [our] measurements of the range of electric cars on the motorway are somewhat below the official range figures, but this result is rather disappointing. It is significantly worse than comparable cars," says Scandinavian Motor's automotive technical editor, Soren W. Rasmussen.
Rasmussen pointed out one critical factor that could partially explain the poor performance: the usable battery capacity is far less than claimed by Toyota. Of the 71.4 kWh available on the FWD model, the publication's representatives could only access 60 kWh when fully charged.
"It is a real shame that Toyota's new electric car cannot perform better than what we have experienced here. The car is basically a smooth-driving car with many good qualities. But when the range in practice is no longer than what we have measured here, then you as a car buyer really have to think twice before buying a new BZ4X." Rasmussen concluded.
Toyota is aware of the problem and has stated that the issue could relate to the battery system's buffer (hidden battery reserve). This issue could also affect the bZ4X's sister cars, the Subaru Solterra and the Lexus RX, which share its battery system.
Results by competitors show that Toyota is far behind the standard. The Tesla Model Y Long Range managed 221 miles instead of 315 miles, achieving 70% of its WLTP figure. This was followed by the Mercedes-Benz EQA and Volkswagen ID.4, reaching 67% of their WLTP-rated range.