In order to achieve a full line-up of electric vehicles, Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) has announced a new series of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), which will be known as ''Toyota bZ''. Here the bZ means Beyond Zero, which shows the brand’s dedication to achieving zero carbon emissions and carbon neutrality. The Japanese carmaker has also stated that it will introduce 15 BEVs by 2025, including 7 new BEV models of the Toyota bZ series. And, the first bZ models has also been unveiled at the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show in a concept form. The brand has named it as ''bZ4X'.
The Toyota bZ4X is an electric SUV concept that has been jointly developed with Subaru (another Japanese automotive brand). It is based on Toyota’s new e-TNGA platform, which is specifically developed for battery electric vehicles (BEVs). It blends a long wheelbase with a short overhang; this results in a unique design, and spacious cabin similar to a D-segment sedan.
While technical details of the SUV are scarce at this point, we know that Toyota bZ4X will come with regenerative energy systems. It will also get an onboard solar recharging system that will recharge the battery when the car is stationary. It will not only magnify the unique environmental performance of a BEV, but will also increase its usability. The electric SUV will also come with an all-wheel drive (AWD) system, which is Subaru’s specialisation.
Design-wise, the Toyota bZ4X looks somewhat similar to the RAV4, featuring sharp cuts & creases all over. The notable design bits of bZ4X includes sleek grille, swept-back LED headlamps, aggressively styled bumpers, plastic cladding over the wheel arches, raked C-pillar, connected LED tail lamps and an angular rear end.
The interior of the car looks futuristic and production-ready. It features a minimalistic design approach and gets an airplane-like yolk-type steering wheel that eliminates the need to change grip when steering. Further, the steer-by-wire system will intensify the overall vehicle performance by improving vehicle manoeuvrability. The digital driver’s instrument display is positioned just above the steering wheel, that not only enhance the vehicle's sense of space but also improve visibility and ensures least eye movement to read information. There is also a joystick-like gear selector and a large floating touchscreen infotainment system with tactile controls positioned just below it.
Toyota bZ4X will be produced in Japan and China and it is likely to go on sale by mid-2022. The brand has stated that it will be sold in various global markets; however, Toyota is yet to confirm whether it will come to our shore.