Toyota will deliver its first electric vehicle in May 2022
Toyota 'Beyond Zero' bZ4X all-electric car
Toyota has announced the arrival of the bZ4X all-electric vehicle in May 2022. The electric concept car was seen at the Shanghai motor show in April this year. The “bZ” stands for “beyond zero”
Up until now Toyota has mainly focused on Hybrid electric cars. The bZ4X will be the carmaker’s first mass-produced electric vehicle.
Toyota is the world's second-biggest car manufacturer, and so introducing the mass-produced EV is a big step in automotive history.
The bZ4X is an SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) which can come with the optional extra of rooftop solar panels. The vehicle will also come in both front-wheel or all-wheel-drive variants.
Most of Toyota’s competitors have relied heavily on producing hybrids and so this is a big step forward for Toyota, moving into purely battery-powered electric vehicles.
This is not the first time Toyota has manufactured an electric car. They produced the short-lived RAV4 EV, but the new ‘Beyond Zero’ EV will be the first Toyota car to compete directly with industry rivals like Tesla, with their Model Y and Hyundai’s Ioniq.
Toyota has already produced the second-generation Mirai, which is a hydrogen fuel cell powered electric vehicle.
The bZ4X will be launched officially in Europe on 2 December when customers can place their orders and reserve their new 2022 registrations. It is expected the new EV will enter series production from the middle of next year across “all regions worldwide”. Toyota is planning to have an extended range of 70 electric vehicles extended by 2025.
The front-wheel drive model will come with a 150kw motor and 265 Nm (Newton Metres) of torque that is capable of zero to 100km/h in 8.4 seconds.
The all-wheel-drive version will have two 80kW (160kW combined) motors that will produce 336Nm of torque, capable of zero to 100km/h in 7.7 seconds.
Both variants will have a top speed of 160km/h, and will come with a 71.4kWh battery giving the EV a range of approximately 500km.
The car maker also says that the bZ4X will have a 150kW DC charger, allowing the batteries to be recharged to 80% in 30 minutes.
The solar panels option which can be built into the roof for use while driving or when parked and can add an extra 1800km of driving distance each year. This may be a good option when there are no charging stations easily available.
It is not fully known yet what the interior will be like but one of the more unique aspects is the steer-by-wire system which works without any direct mechanical link between the steering wheel and the tyres.
The technology Toyota will use is very similar to the fly-by-wire systems used in jet aircraft and means the driver will only receive feedback from the road, as they will not feel vibrations from the tyres via the steering wheel.
With the fly-by-wire system, you will also have the option for a “yoke” stick instead of a steering wheel similar to the Tesla Model S. Toyota says that its version will deliver better performance than Tesla with 150 degrees of lock so the driver does not have to change hand positions when turning the vehicle.
The all-wheel drive system will have a separate electric motor for each axle and the lithium-ion battery pack is expected to operate at 90pc of its original performance after 10 years of driving. There will be a third generation Toyota Safety Sense and new, improved active safety and driver assistance systems.
Irish motorists will be able to test drive the new bZ4X at dealerships from May, 2022.
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
Follow me on LinkedIn