On Sunday in Shanghai Toyota celebrated the world premiere of a new electric SUV concept that will become a production model next year. And yes, it will come to North America.
Called bZ4X, this concept refers to Toyota’s new bZ sub-brand (which stands for “Beyond Zero” as in zero emissions) and the fact that it’s a crossover with all-wheel drive.
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Toyota’s First Battery-electric Vehicle
Well known for its hybrid and fuel cell technologies, the Japanese automaker is jumping on the full EV bandwagon with a brand new dedicated platform it developed with the help of Subaru, which will introduce an electric SUV of its own in the near future.
Said platform, identified as e-TNGA (electric Toyota New Global Architecture), aims to combine the quality, durability and reliability of Toyota products with Subaru’s renowned AWD capabilities. It sure sounds like a winning combination.
Unfortunately, the company did not provide any technical details in Shanghai. We don’t know anything about power, battery capacity or range. More information specific to North America will be announced at a later date, Toyota said.
Like a Futuristic RAV4
The Toyota bZ4X is an SUV with a long wheelbase, short overhangs and styling that contrasts with the rest of the Toyota lineup. The profile is a bit longer and lower than that of the RAV4. Obviously, the headlights and taillights have a more futuristic look, while the black roof incorporates dual glass panels.
Inside, the floating centre console is capped by a number of physical controls (including a rotary gear selector) and a wide infotainment display. A fully digital instrument cluster lies in front of the driver, close to the bottom of the windshield.
The production version of the bZ4X will be assembled in Japan and China, with sales to begin in mid-2022. Initial availability will likely be limited, as is the case with the RAV4 Prime.
Toyota wants to expand its global lineup to about 70 electrified models by 2025, including 15 battery-electric vehicles, seven of which will represent the bZ sub-brand. The automaker aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.