It's a crying shame that we won't get to see this in the USA, but a global-market sedan is under development.
Earlier this month, we got a sneak peek at a possible Tesla Model 3 fighter from Toyota. Now, the final product has officially been unveiled and as we suspected, it is a Chinese-market exclusive. The Toyota bZ3 is the second model to be born from the brand's bZ series, but we doubt that it'll ever be sold outside its dedicated region.
The bZ3 was built in conjunction with two Chinese state-owned conglomerates including Build Your Dreams (BYD) and First Automobile Works (FAW). The brand states that this was a necessary product to develop considering how China is currently the biggest EV market in the world.
BYD came to the party to supply its batteries. FAW was put in charge of the production and assembly of the bZ3 for which it has more than enough capacity. The Japanese manufacturer handled everything that came in between developing the new EV including reapplying the e-TNGA platform that's utilized by the Toyota bZ4X.
Using BYD's platform, the bZ3 is fitted with a lithium-ion phosphate (LFP) battery which gives it a claimed cruising range of 373 miles. Bear in mind that this is based on the country's light-duty vehicle test cycle which is known to be a little bit generous. Although the compact EV sedan sits on an existing platform, Toyota applied a new battery structure, as well as cooling, control, and safety monitoring systems. With these changes, it promises that the battery pack will still be able to carry 90% charge after 10 years.
When it comes to driving characteristics, Toyota and its partners have designed the bZ3 to be fun and comfortable. Using e-TNGA, the sedan features a low center of gravity, making it stable through a set of corners. Even the driving position has been optimized so that muscle strain and fatigue are kept to a minimum when driving long-distance.
Comfort is sourced from the interior design which was designed with Toyota's Family Lounge philosophy. Two key aspects of this are a vast use of digitalization coupled with a social seating space. The Digital Island operating system with voice control, not to be confused with the upcoming Google-based system, is installed on the large vertical touchscreen infotainment system which also comes fitted with a tray console.
As noted, the bZ3 is probably not going to be making its way to the USA which is a pity, because the brand does not have an entry-level EV sedan as of yet. However, Toyota confirmed that a new bZ series model with a fastback silhouette is under development. This is likely to be its global fighter in the compact sedan segment, but all we have for now is a teaser image.
Although the brand has an extensive EV strategy in place, it will only start creating models belonging to the highest-demand segments, but this is only if the correct infrastructure is implemented. It's this very reason that we won't see an EV truck anytime soon from Toyota.