Toyota unveils all-new electric SUV at LA auto show
When it comes to electrified vehicles, no other automaker comes close to Toyota. In the 20-year history since the launch of the Prius hybrid, Toyota has put over 18 million hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the road. At this week's Los Angeles Auto Show, the company is stating that they anticipate 80% of their global sales volume will be electrified vehicles.
Yet for all the emphasis on hybrids and plug-in hybrids, Toyota has not made pure battery-electric vehicles a major emphasis until now.
The 2023 BZ4X is a dedicated electric vehicle built on a platform designed for electric use only. The "BZ" in the name stands for "Beyond Zero" carbon emissions, and Toyota stated that it's the beginning of a new all-electric sub-brand for the automaker.
Toyota plans to expand to around 70 electrified models globally by 2025. This future lineup will feature 15 dedicated battery electric vehicles, including seven carrying the BZ brand.
Advanced electric driveline
The BZ4X is estimated to have a range of 250 miles when equipped with front-wheel-drive, though the EPA has not yet validated that distance. However, the 4X in the BZ4X name indicates that the launch edition is an all-wheel-drive vehicle. Toyota has not provided a range estimate for the AWD version.
AWD in the BZ4X is achieved by having two electric motors. One motor drives the front wheels and one drives the rear wheels, and there is no transmission. The two motors coordinate with each other to provide power where needed. Together, the motors produce 160 kW or about 215 horsepower. In the front-wheel-drive configuration, Toyota estimates motor power at 150 kW or about 200 horsepower. The BZ4X will support DC Fast Charging and Level 2 charging, which is what most home-installed units provide.
With the BZ4X, Toyota has addressed a key battery life cycle issue. The company's testing indicates that the battery pack in the BZ4X will retain 90% of its capacity after 10 years of use. In real-world terms, that means a range of about 200 miles after a decade of use. This is a great improvement over prior generations of EVs.
Bold design, safety features
The BZ4X has a striking exterior design. The fenders are broad and sharply sculpted for a sporty look. If you've ever criticized EVs as looking bland and uninspiring, the BZ4X will change all that.
Toyota also announced that the BZ4X will be the first vehicle to include the new Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 safety package. The existing TSS system has been improved by expanding the detection range of the millimeter wave radar and monocular camera.
Toyota has enhanced the performance of each function and added new functions to assist in normal driving conditions. For example, the pre-collision system has been improved to offer low-light cyclist detection, daytime motorcyclist detection and guardrail detection. Also, lane recognition is enhanced to add improved functionality while in lane tracing sssist mode.
Inside, the new EV looks up-to-date with a large, center-mounted touchscreen control panel, wireless device charging, and plenty of room for passengers. With the large rear hatch open and the rear seats folded down, the BZ4X offers about 30 cubic feet of cargo space. Toyota also has taken comfort seriously, while reducing battery drain. The BZ4X uses an efficient heat pump for both heating and air conditioning, and offers heated front seats and steering wheel. In a first for Toyota, there's also radiant heat to warm the feet and legs of front-seat passengers.
Toyota's electrified product line
The BZ4X joins the industry's largest lineup of hybrid, plug-in-hybrid, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Just weeks ago, we reported on the all-new Toyota Tundra, now available with a turbocharged and hybrid V6 engine that produces more power than the last-generation V8.
Toyota also offers hybrid drivelines in its Sienna minivan, Venza and Highlander midsize SUVs, the RAV4 compact SUV, and in its sedan lineup from the Corolla through the Avalon. And, of course, there's still the Prius. Both the Prius and the RAV4 are available as plug-in hybrids, with a larger battery capable of powering the vehicle for up to 45 miles as an EV before switching to gas.
Toyota also offers the Mirai zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Currently this sedan is available only in California, but Toyota plans to make it available in the Pacific Northwest when hydrogen infrastructure is in place to support the car.
Pricing and an exact on-sale date have not yet been released, but Toyota expects to start selling the BZ4X in mid-2022. Talk to your local Toyota dealer about reserving a test drive now.
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