by Fred Lambert
October 29, 2021
Toyota has unveiled what could be considered as its first all-electric car: the bZ4X, an electric SUV packed with cool features. We already saw the car when Toyota unveiled it as a concept at the Shanghai Motor Show, but it didn’t release any spec or details on the features until now.
At an event in Japan today, the automaker has fully unveiled the bZ4X ahead of deliveries starting next year. While Toyota has offered all-electric vehicles in China in the past, the bZ4X could be considered its first battery-electric vehicle since it’s the first to use a BEV-dedicated platform and to be available globally.
Toyota bZ4X “bZ” stands for “beyond zero,” which is Toyota’s latest electrification strategy and a sort of sub-brand for its upcoming electric vehicles, starting with the bZ4X The electric SUV hasn’t been updated much from the concept. It still features some sharp lines and aggressive design.
In terms of specs, we finally have more details. Toyota has been clear that every spec it released today is for the Japanese version of the car. Details on the US version are expected to come next month, but it should still give us a good idea. The vehicle is equipped with a 71.4 kWh battery pack.
As for what range it enables, Toyota is only releasing right now “cruising range per charge (WLTC),” which it claims to be 500 km (310 miles) for the front-wheel drive version and 460 km (286 miles) for the all-wheel-drive version. The front-wheel-drive version is equipped with a single 150 kW motor while the all-wheel-drive version is equipped with an 80 kW motor on each axle.
The DC fast-charging capacity is apparently capped at 150 kW and Toyota says that it can charge to 80% state-of-charge in about 30 minutes with that capacity. In terms of specs, it makes for a decent entry to mid-level SUV in the electric space. Powertrain specs aside, Toyota clearly has been paying attention to the features that other automakers have been offering on their EVs and packed the bZ4X with a lot of cool ones.
First off, it’s capable of bidirectional charging for vehicle-to-home capacity. It’s also offered with an optional solar roof, which Toyota says can “generates electricity equivalent to 1,800 km of driving distance per year”. Toyota is also offering the bZ4X with an optional “wing-shaped” steering wheel, which the automaker claims improve visibility. That’s not unlike Tesla’s “Yoke” steering wheel recently introduced in the Model S Plaid.
However, Toyota fixed the major problem with Tesla’s wheel by introducing its “wing-shaped” steering wheel with a steer-by-wire system enabling what Toyota calls a “one motion grip”: • Lock-to-lock is set at around 150 degrees, eliminating the need to change grips when steering, greatly reducing the burden on the driver for U-turn, garage parking and on winding roads • The steering feeling is improved through independently controlling the steering torque that the driver feels and the steering angle of the tires. Steering characteristics can be changed with drive mode select
• Blocks unnecessary vibrations from tires and only transmits necessary vibrations such as road information. System controls tire movement to ensure vehicle stability when driving on uneven surfaces or when Lane Tracing Assist is activated • One-motion grip provides more legroom, improving driving position freedom and ease of entry and exit
More details about pricing and availability of the Toyota bZ4X are expected to be released in the coming months. The electric SUV is expected to land first in Japan in mid-2022.