In the case of plug-in hybrids, Toyota was clearly a pioneer, and long before Tesla provided something like the example of the eco-car with the Prius. The Japanese group has stuck to the concept for a long time, buoyed by visions of hydrogen, and only announced this spring that it also wanted to get into the all-electric car business. With the bZ4X, it introduced the first representative of Toyota’s new generation, which is expected to grow to seven models by 2025. Technically, it offers few surprises – but it’s an interesting signal or a provocation against Tesla.
A solid electric car in the form of a crossover
Like many new electric cars, the Toyota bZ4X comes in the form of a flat-top SUV, that is, in fact, a crossover. As one might expect from the mass-produced Japanese manufacturer, the data sounds solid, but not spectacular. Toyota expects a range of 450 km from the WLTP with a battery capacity of 71.4 kWh. It should be possible to recover 80 percent of this up to 150 kilowatts within 30 minutes. The bZ4X is available with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and in the second case it accelerates to 100 kilometers per hour in 7.7 seconds.
It all sounds more like a VW ID.4 than a Tesla Model Y. One interesting piece of information is the battery life. As explained by Toyota, the battery should still be 90 percent of its initial capacity after ten years and 240,000 kilometers. The company attributes this to nearly 25 years of experience in the battery business. In fact, the value is higher than what other manufacturers, including Tesla, guarantee for their electric vehicles. However, it does not appear from the press release on bZ4X that a higher number should become a guarantee.
Toyota describes the electric vehicle as production-ready as shown, but it doesn’t reveal exactly when it should reach customers. European premiere according to the message Planned for the beginning of December, shortly thereafter applications will be opened in an online system. You are also likely to track prices only then. A Toyota spokesperson praised the “OTA” ability for updates on Twitter, i.e. via radio like Tesla, but according to the press release, this only appears to be related to the new multimedia system.
Yoke like Tesla, but more consistent
Slightly hidden in its text, the company appears to have incorporated an innovation into the first all-electric car to implement an idea from Tesla more consistently: the so-called yoke, a kind of dual joystick as in fighter jets or racing cars, which was used in the new model. S and replace the Model X steering wheel. Visually, it fits well with the modern character of the car and its superior driving performance, but requires getting used to it without any real advantages, as most owners admit.
And something like that, but in a more practical way Toyota should have a crossover, as can only be seen from the English text of the bZ4X. Here it is called One Motion Grip and it will be “presented at a later time” in Europe. This still requires approval, because unlike Tesla, there is no longer any mechanical connection to the wheels behind the steering rectangle. The guiding principle is called a wire. With its help, according to Toyota, it is possible to achieve complete locking of the wheels with a rotation of the chassis by 150 degrees. This means that you no longer have to include what sometimes caused difficulties with the open Tesla yoke in the beginning. Judging by the bZ4X rendering photos, unlike the Model S and Y, there will also be an optional conventional steering wheel for Toyota.