The first Toyota bZ3 electric vehicle powered by BYD technology came off the assembly line this week in China. The co-developed Toyota-FAW bZ3 EV starts at just over $27,000 (189,800 RMB), with deliveries expected to begin soon.
Toyota officially announced the bZ3 EV in October 2022, its second model from its bZ (Beyond Zero) lineup of fully electric cars.
The bZ3 electric sedan is jointly developed by BYD Toyota EV Technology – a joint venture created with FAW Toyota (a JV between FAW Group and Toyota) and BYD.
The relationship is interesting between one of the most prominent EV markers (BYD) and the largest car maker (Toyota), which has fallen behind in the race to introduce fully electric vehicles.
Toyota (through FAW-Toyota) builds the bZ3 EV on the e-TNGA platform, the same used for its bZ4x electric SUV, but BYD manufactures the lithium-ion LFP battery, motor, and electric control system, resulting in a maximum range of over 600 km (about 372 miles).
The interior of the bZ3 is also much different than the bZ4X, with a Digitial Island system that integrates a large vertical center display into a tray-type console.
According to a new report from CarNewsChina, the first Toyota-BYD co-developed bZ3 came out of assembly this week and is ready for delivery.
Toyota bZ3 EV ready for deliveries in China
The report says that the Toyota bZ3 is out for pre-sales in China. For 2,000 RMB ($290), the first 5,000 customers can reserve their spot before the EV launches on May 31 and receive a credit of 5,000 RMB ($725).
FAW-Toyota says repeat buyers are eligible for an 8,000 RMB ($1,160) replacement credit or, alternatively, a 6,00 RMB ($870) additional purchase credit.
First-time buyers are eligible for several benefits, including free maintenance for ten years or 200,000 km (about 124,000 miles), charging incentives, and roadside assistance.
The news comes shortly after Toyota slashed the prices of its first electric vehicle, the bZ4, in China by 15% ($4,300) with a new starting price under $25,000 to better compete in the region.
Top comment by HH702
Wait, I am confused. A major part of Tesla investor day was about how they were hard at work developing a next-generation platform that will allow them to sell a smaller car at $25,000 probably in 2025. And yet Toyota is now selling a Model 3 sized EV in China for $27,000?
What's going on here?
China’s EV market continues heating up with startups like NIO and XPeng, as well as legacy automakers fighting for a position in the rapidly expanding market.
However, as CarNewsChina notes, Toyota saw its first decline in sales in 2022, breaking a six-year streak. Sales of the bZ4X have been disappointing in China (as well as globally) hence the reason for the price cuts.
With a new EV co-developed with BYD, why would customers buy the bZ3 when they could get an electric vehicle directly from BYD, which has already established itself as a leader in the market?
Toyota’s new CEO plans to pull the automaker out of the dark ages and into the modern era, but he will need to do more than a co-developed vehicle. But, I guess, as the saying goes, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”
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