Toyota on Friday revealed the first member of its new BZ (Beyond Zero) sub-brand for electric vehicles.
It’s a small crossover similar in size to the top-selling RAV4, and it’s due in U.S. showrooms around mid-2022, meaning we’ll likely see it arrive as a 2023 model.
The BZ4X rides on a newly developed platform, dubbed e-TNGA. It’s the first dedicated-EV platform for Toyota, and you can expect to see it in multiple models from Toyota (and Lexus) in the coming years. Toyota said it plans to have 15 zero-emission vehicles in its lineup by 2025, of which seven will be from the BZ sub-brand.
The BZ4X unveiled on Friday is the version for the Japanese market but we can expect similar specifications for the version headed here. There’s a single battery with a capacity of 71.4 kilowatt-hours and buyers can choose from a front-wheel-drive powertrain with 201 hp or an all-wheel-drive setup with 214 hp. A top speed wasn’t mentioned but 0-62 mph acceleration takes 8.4 seconds with FWD and 7.7 seconds with AWD.
In both cases you’re looking at close to 300 miles based on the WLTP test cycle used overseas. This figure will likely be lower when measured using the tougher EPA cycle. Charging at up to 150 kilowatts is possible, which will enable an 80% charge in 30 minutes. A roof-mounted solar panel will also be available in some markets.
2023 Toyota BZ4X
Toyota said it focused on delivering reliable performance throughout the life of the vehicle. For example, the BZ4X’s range should remain consistent even in cold winters, and the battery should also retain about 90% of its capacity after 10 years (based on a usage rate of 15,000 miles per year).
The interior is a modern place, featuring minimalist styling and a large central screen for infotainment. A smaller screen serves as the instrument gauge, with Toyota doing away with the traditional gauge hood to give a clearer view as well as give the cabin an open and airy feeling.
While most markets will have a traditional steering wheel, the Chinese market will feature a yoke-style steering wheel (shown below). Thanks to steer-by-wire technology, where the traditional mechanical connection between the steering wheel and tires is replaced by electric systems, lock-to-lock with the yoke wheel is set at around 150 degrees, meaning just one hand is required for tight turns. Toyota said this feature will be added to more models in the future, including those sold outside of China.
2023 Toyota BZ4X (Chinese spec)
Other useful features of the BZ4X include cloud-based navigation that can provide info on things like traffic and charging station and parking space availability in near real-time. Over-the-air updates will also be available, along with a digital key. The digital key allows an owner to use a smartphone to unlock and start the vehicle, and this access can be remotely handed over between smartphones, for example for family or friends.
Production of the BZ4X will be handled at plants in China and Japan.
More details on the U.S.-spec BZ4X will be announced closer to next year’s market launch.