Patent filings have revealed the names of at least five Toyota EVs.
Toyota's first electric SUV is still shrouded in mystery. Teaser images released by the Japanese automaker have previewed the proportions, but details are still scarce. After focusing on hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, this will be the Japanese automaker's first global battery-electric vehicle, so its importance cannot be understated.
Toyota's mystery SUV will be revealed at the upcoming Shanghai Auto Show on April 19, but a patent filing has seemingly confirmed it will be called the BZ.
Submitted to the European Union Intellectual Property Office, the patented image shows Toyota's new BZ logo, which stands for Beyond Zero.
Toyota's first electric SUV is expected to be sold under the BZ nameplate, but additional trademark filings for BZ1 through to BZ5 and BZ1X through to BZ5X suggest multiple EVs will use Toyota's BZ branding. The numbers are expected to indicate the vehicle's size: BZ1 will represent the smallest crossover in the BZ lineup, while the BZ5 will be the largest SUV. BZ models with an X could be reserved for all-wheel-drive variants.
Each BZ model will be underpinned by Toyota's e-TNGA platform co-developed with Subaru that supports front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive, as well as a variety of battery sizes catering for different segments.
Technical details such as performance and range for Toyota's first BZ model are still a mystery, but it's expected to have similar proportions to the Toyota RAV4. At least two of Toyota's new BZ models have already leaked in patent designs including a compact SUV and a mid-size SUV with three rows of seats and an angular design inspired by Subaru's SUV design study showcasing the dedicated electric platform.
While the Toyota BZ crossover debuting in Shanghai this month is designed specifically for the European market, Toyota North America CEO Tetsuo Ogawa has confirmed a separate EV is being developed for the US in the "short term." Hopefully, we'll find out more details about Toyota's EV plans when the first BZ model debuts later this month.