Toyota Motor Corporation announced Toyota bZ, its newly established series of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), in establishment of a full line-up of electrified vehicles. At Auto Shanghai, Toyota unveiled a concept version of the Toyota bZ4X, which will be the first model in the bZ series. In establishment a full line-up of electrified vehicles, Toyota will introduce 15 BEVs, including seven new Toyota bZ BEV models by 2025.
Toyota bZ4X concept.
In its development of BEVs, Toyota has taken two distinct approaches based on the idea of utilizing the advantages of BEVs, considering CO2 reductions from LCA.
The first seeks to realize “mobility for all,” with a focus on small-capacity, short-distance, ultra-compact BEVs with establishing new business models such as commercialization of battery reuse and recycling. The Toyota C+pod, which was launched in December 2020, is one example. (Earlier post.)
In contrast, the new Toyota bZ series of BEVs takes on a “human-centered” approach aimed at widespread use in regions such as China, the US, and Europe, where there is significant demand for BEVs, and where there is a large supply of renewable electricity. “bZ” stands for “beyond Zero,” and incorporates the desire to provide customers with value that exceeds mere “zero emissions.”
The Toyota bZ series models will be built on new BEV dedicated platforms with features as follows:
Practical cruising range that considers the operating environment, so that customers can choose our products with peace of mind; and
Open and freestyle interior and uniquely designed exterior utilizing BEV packaging.
Development of the Toyota bZ series is based on BEV-dedicated platforms that can be used with multiple variations in terms of size and design. Toyota says that since it is difficult for it to prepare such a wide range of choices by itself, it is jointly developing the series with partners who boast expertise in various fields.
Partners for developing Toyota bZ models are BYD, Daihatsu, Subaru and Suzuki. The Toyota bZ4X is an SUV BEV jointly developed with Toyota’s partner, Subaru. This new vehicle adopts the e-TNGA BEV-dedicated platform that was jointly developed by the two companies; it takes advantage of the strength of Toyota, which boasts expertise in vehicle electrification, and Subaru, which possesses outstanding AWD technologies, and realizes driving performance that is both comfortable and enjoyable.
Characteristics of the bZ4X include:
Using a BEV-specific platform, the bZ4X combines a long wheelbase with a short overhang; this results both in a distinctive design, and in an interior space comparable to a D-segment sedan.
A uniquely shaped steering wheel eliminates the need to change grip when steering, and also contributes to a spacious interior; the vehicle adopts a steer-by-wire system that provides a smooth driving feel aligned with the driver’s intentions.
The low position of the instrument panel and the location of the meters above the steering wheel serve not only to enhance the vehicle’s sense of space, but also improve visibility and contribute to safe and secure driving.
The bZ4X adopts a new AWD system jointly developed by Toyota and Subaru;
In addition to the use of regenerative energy systems, the vehicle also adopts a solar recharging system; this cleverly recharges the battery while stationary, and further enhances the unique environmental performance of a BEV. It also provides cruising range that ensures customers not to be inconvenienced in wintertime.
Toyota plans to produce the Toyota bZ4X in Japan and China; it hopes to begin worldwide sales of the model by the middle of 2022.