We already know the identity of Toyota’s first all-electric vehicle. The bZ4X SUV is expected in 2022, and what’s more it will accompanied on to the market by a cousin produced by Subaru (the Solterra).
Of course, we still don’t know everything about this model, but we now know a little more than we did last week. Toyota has shared additional information about the first of several bZ (for Beyond Zero) models it has in the pipeline. In addition, we can see the near-production version in images.
Seven more bZ electric models will follow by 2025, by the way.
The format of the bZ4X is similar to that of the RAV4. However, its wheelbase is 6.3 inches longer and it is slightly longer and lower to the ground than the brand’s most popular model.
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The bZ4X will be assembled on the e-TNGA electric vehicle platform that Toyota developed in collaboration with Subaru. The images shown here are still of a prototype, but the production model is expected to be a pretty close copy.
The bZ4x will be served by a lithium-ion battery pack with a capacity of about 64 kWh. The single-motor version will offer a front-wheel-drive configuration and 201 hp. A two-motor, all-wheel-drive approach will offer 215 hp. In the latter case, the company promises a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of 7.7 seconds.
In terms of range on the European WLTP cycle, Toyota claims a range of 370 km for the front-wheel drive model and 322 km for the four-wheel drive version. That’s short of many competitors currently on the market, but we’ll have to see if a more powerful configuration will be reserved for North American models.
For energy recovery, Toyota explains that with a 150-kW fast charger, the bZ4X will be able to recover 80 percent of its battery in 30 minutes. Solar panels will be available for the roof and, according to the company, will allow for the recovery of just over 1,600 km of range per year.
A gamer-style steering wheel will be available, much like the one found in the new Tesla Model S and X. However, there is a marked difference: its total rotation will be limited to 150 degrees by using an electronic steering system (without mechanical links) to turn the wheels at the appropriate rate according to the driver’s indications.
In short, you shouldn’t have to cross your hands when making tight or emergency maneuvers. Intriguing, but real-world testing will be crucial, as none of this will feel natural behind the wheel to anyone used to driving with the help of a… traditional steering wheel.
Toyota’s new multimedia system, which uses voice commands, will be accessed via a large central touch screen. It will also benefit from over-the-air updates over time, so it should never be out of date.
That, by the way, is going to become the industry standard. In fact, just this week, Volvo announced its first OTA updates with some of its vehicles.
And when will we get the Toyota bZ4X? Production of the EV is expected to begin in mid-2022, so we can expect to see it land at dealers in late summer or early fall of next year.