Toyota's new all-electric SUV concept marks the start of an electric era for Toyota and the launch of a new family of electric vehicles with the bZ name. The bZ4X concept looks like a RAV4 crossed with a C-HR, resulting in one of the best-looking models to wear the big T on the nose in quite some time.
The bZ4X rides on a new platform developed jointly by Toyota and Subaru called e-TNGA. The former provided electrification expertise, while the latter brought its knowledge of all-wheel drive. A long wheelbase and short overhangs help add interior space, while a sharp, upright nose gives it a face much different than any of Toyota's current lineup.
Inside, Toyota says that the new steering wheel "eliminates the need to change grip when steering." In the global release, it's a steering wheel with no top section, looking much like the "yoke" that Tesla recently revealed. Canadian interior photos showed a conventional round steering wheel. The instrument cluster, set far from the driver, is intended to add visibility and safety as well as enhance the sense of space inside, though it certainly seems quite far away.
Powertrain details weren't given, but Toyota said that some solar recharging would be offered to help boost the battery when parked. Toyota also said that the driving range was sufficient for drivers "not to be inconvenienced in wintertime."
BZ stands for Beyond Zero, and this will be the start of an EV-specific branding that will expand to seven dedicated EVs by 2025. In addition, Toyota will have eight more dedicated EVs not wearing the bZ logo and expects to have "around 70" electrified models globally by that year. The plan includes electrification of its pickups with hybrid and EV powertrains "in the near future."
The Toyota bZ4X is planned for sale, expected to be built in Japan and China, on sale worldwide in the middle of next year. North American details will follow.