This is the Toyota bZ4X, which, surprisingly, is Toyota’s first pure-electric vehicle. It is intended to be the first of a line of new electric cars from Toyota set to be sold under the bZ (“beyond zero”) nameplate. Though a little smaller than Toyota’s current RAV4, it’s a real alternative for those buyers that want a vehicle with the RAV4’s SUV stance, but with a quiet, zero-emissions powertrain.
What are its rivals?
The bZ4X is built on the same platform as upcoming electric models from Subaru and Lexus set to launch in the next year or so. Those will likely be more expensive offerings than the Toyota though. As well as petrol and hybrid crossover models including Toyota’s own aforementioned RAV4, the bZ4X’s main rivals will be cars such as the Volkswagen ID.4, Skoda Enyaq iV, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and Tesla Model Y. The electric crossover segment is a really hot sector of the market just now, so the list of rivals is long.
Any tech info?
There isn’t a vast amount of information just yet about all of the bZ4X’s tech specs, but it will feature a seven-inch digital instrument panel mounted in the driver’s eyeline for improved visibility, as well as a centrally-mounted touchscreen for control and infotainment functions.
Interestingly, one feature that won’t be available on European models from launch, but which is due further down the line, is drive-by-wire steering. Toyota’s “One Motion Grip” dispenses with a mechanical linkage between the steering wheel and front wheels, increasing driver legroom and only transmitting necessary vibrations to the driver’s hands. When it arrives, it may feature a steering wheel similar to the yoke set-up seen in some Tesla models.
What will range be like?
Two versions of the bZ4X will be available, both of which feature a 71.4kWh battery pack capable of around 450km of range. The first version will be a single-motor 204hp model while the second will use two motors and all-wheel drive to produce a total of 218hp. Acceleration from 0-100km/h is quoted at 8.4 and 7.7 seconds, respectively.
Toyota has long thrown all its eggs into the hybrid rather than all-electric basket, so it’ll be interesting to see how the bZ4X compares to its rivals. In theory at least, the bZ4X is aiming for a market sweet spot. Toyota is currently the best-selling brand in Ireland, very closely followed by Volkswagen. Crossovers such as the Hyundai Tucson, Volkswagen Tiguan and Toyota RAV4 are among Ireland’s best-selling models too. As such, the combination of the Toyota brand and a vehicle of the bZ4X’s size may do a lot to get more Irish drivers behind the wheel of an electric car.