Toyota has confirmed that at least one vehicle under its new all-electric sub-brand ‘bZ’ (beyond Zero) will make it to South Africa in 2023. That vehicle will be in the shape of an SUV, called the Toyota bZ4X. That shape might look familiar. That’s because Subaru is a technology partner, so the bZX4 is basically the same vehicle as the Subaru Solterra. Lexus will also share the EV platform. We wonder what they’ll call their version.
The bZX4 will get its juice from a 71.4kWh battery from Panasonic. That should, according to Toyota, give you a range of around 450km. It should also be noted that the bZX4 will be able to take advantage of those shiny new 150kW fast-chargers Audi had installed. A 30-minute stop at one of those will get you 80% of the way to a full charge.
Bring on the sunshine
There’s also a market-dependant list that mentions a solar-panelled roof option that will supplement the regenerative braking while you drive – if it’s sunny, of course. Toyota says that could add up to 1,800km of range over the course of a year. If you do the math, that works out to 150km a month. Well, we hope it works out like that because that would be great.
The bZX4 will be available in two drivetrain options. You can either have a single 150kW, 265Nm electric motor mounted on the front axle for front-wheel drive. Or you can have two 80kW motors on each axle for all-wheel drive.
Toyota’s new EV looks to be modelled from the RAV4, in terms of dimensions anyway. It also marks the debut of the brand’s ‘Hammerhead design’ for the front grille and nose. You might need to squint to see it at first.
Although it’s a modern new car, the bZX4 wouldn’t have been our first guess to feature some new features. Something that Toyota calls steer-by-wire. The idea is to eliminate the need for the driver to cross arms by adjusting the turn angle of the front wheels. This should allow for a full lock within 150 degrees of rotation. You’ll still cross your arms though.
Just the one pedal, please
Have you ever wanted to drive with just one pedal? Well, the bZX4 will also be Toyota’s first production EV to feature a single pedal driving mode. This allows the driver to control acceleration and braking with just one pedal. This will probably take some getting used to.
Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly just how much the bZX4 will cost when it eventually arrives in SA next year. We also don’t know if that’ll be towards the end of the year, in the beginning, or somewhere in between. But we’re keen to try out the Prius’ unofficial spiritual successor either way.
Source: EV Living