By on November 1, 2021

While Toyota undoubtedly helped to popularize hybrid vehicles with the Prius, it’s been comparatively hesitant to pull the trigger on all-electric vehicles sold in its name. But things have a habit of changing and the automaker has officially revealed its first production EV.

The bZ4X crossover is Toyota’s first official attempt at a battery-electric production car and seems to check all the necessary boxes without straying too far from the brand’s modus operandi. For example, the 71.4 kWh battery yielding an estimated 285 to 310 miles of range isn’t groundbreaking. But it’s competitive and Toyota says it focused on delivering undertaxed power cells aided by water cooling to help prolong its lifespan. 

Granted, it’s not the first automaker to come to the conclusion that it’s smart not to let the battery overheat. Plenty of manufacturers have their own ways of cooling the battery during periods of sustained use and charging. Toyota simply elected to go with what it thought was the most trouble-free, stating that it believed batteries equipped to the bZ4X would see maximum charge degrading by no more than 10 percent over 150,000 miles or 10 years of ownership — whichever comes first.

Charging times are similarly mid-pack with the model offering up to 150kW DC. This is again designed to help keep cells fresher over time, though is reportedly capable of restoring a drained vehicle to 80 percent of its maximum charge in half an hour. Additionally, an available solar array is supposed to help the bZ4X — the first in its planned bZ vehicle lineup — recoup a bit of energy whenever it’s outdoors. Toyota said this would be helpful in emergency situations where the power grid has failed by delivering an estimated 1,800 km worth of energy per year.

We’re inclined to believe those figures aren’t wholly representative of reality, more likely embodying an idealized scenario where the crossover has been left in the sunniest part of your lawn for 365 days. But even recouping a few dozen miles during an extended power outage would result in this being more than a useless gimmick designed to help Toyota sell premium features. Just don’t expect it to be saving you a bundle on electricity or being sufficient for more than the worst kind of emergencies.

That 310-mile maximum range is also in the European WLTP cycle, meaning the EPA numbers would be lower if Toyota plans on selling the bZ4X here. For now, it’s exclusive to Japan with a European debut planned for early in December.

Customers will be able to select between a single 150kW motor offering 201 bhp at the front wheels or an all-wheel-drive unit using two 80kW hubs on each axle for a combined output of 215 bhp. The AWD bZ4X has been clocked at hitting 60 mph in 7.7 seconds, whereas front-drive examples take 8.4 seconds. Both versions are electronically limited at just 100 miles per hour.

However single motor cars are the only model capable of achieving the 310-mile range. Dual motor crossovers will see their Euro WLTP estimated range shrink to 285 miles.

Expect the now ubiquitous array of oversized screens with just enough physical controls to keep you from becoming totally furious. The car also features a yoke-type steering wheel in certain configurations to help maximize driver legroom and give you a better view of the already large instrumentation. But Toyota has said a traditional wheel will be available and included photographs of both. Dial shifters will be standard, along with Apple CarPlay, voice command, over-the-air (OTA) updates, and Toyota Safety Sense.

The rest is about what you’d expect to find on any modern EV, with the manufacturer taking time to point out the amount of recycled materials it used in the construction. Toyota also spent some time praising just how much engineering went into making sure the bZ4X was lightweight, though the absolute lightest variant does still weigh a whopping 4,233 lbs.


[Images: Toyota]

Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by subscribing to our newsletter.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

29 Comments on “Toyota bZ4X BEV Announced for Japan, Europe Next...”

  • avatar

    Just when I thought VW owned the future of
    EVs, Toyota introduces a flexible platform too.
    I don’t care for the “lower roof”. The 0-60 times
    are in line with real world needs and good battery life.
    No need for 0-60 in three seconds! A hell of a way to
    save the earth, wasting as much energy as possible. I am
    looking at you, Tesla.

    • 0 avatar

      “Just when I thought VW owned the future of EVs”

      Did you really believe that?

      “A hell of a way to save the earth”

      Um in no way does the EV “save the Earth”. Earth will go on just fine until the Sun turns into a Red Giant and consumes it. If you’re concerned with improving Earth, it requires a lot of dirty work I doubt you’d be inclined to do or support.

  • avatar
    Greg Hamilton

    I heard rumors that this was based on BYD’s EA1 Dolphin EV. Is this true, Best and Brightest?

    • 0 avatar

      No, the bZ4x and the Solterra are the first cars based on Toyota’s eTNGA platform. There are 15 more models coming based on eTNGA.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, BYD and Toyota will make a EV for China.

      • 0 avatar
        Greg Hamilton

        Thanks Norm,
        It appears this car will be a niche product. If it were to be a mass market car, where exactly are all the batteries going to come from? BYD makes LFP batteries but as far as I know they are already committed to selling them to Tesla and to the Chinese built Ford Mach-E.
        On a side note, I don’t understand the saber rattling with China if Ford is going to build the Mach-E there and ship them to Europe. On this subject I have to agree with Bernie Sanders of all people. He said, “If China is a threat to the United States, why are so many U.S. corporations investing there?”

        • 0 avatar

          “If China is a threat to the United States, why are so many U.S. corporations investing there?”

          yes, China is currently the biggest threat to the US, and corporations want to make money while they can.

      • 0 avatar

        @NormSV360: Just to be clear, the EA1 Dolphin uses BYD’s e-platform 3.0. The bZ4X and Solterra use Toyota’s new e-TNGA BEV-dedicated platform.

        The Dolphin is using BYD’s LFP blade battery pack.

  • avatar

    I don’t know if bZ4x is supposed to be the name of a car or a part for a broken laser printer…

  • avatar

    Looks like a RAV-4 without ICE. I presume this is on some variant of the TNGA platform, which would make sense. (I don’t recall if the JDM gets their own RAV-4 variant, either, though I thought Europe does.)

    What in the world is compelling the use of yokes instead of steering wheels? I wonder if they have to have the airbags vented differently to prevent burning the driver’s hands during a deployment on a yoke versus a wheel? I can’t imagine any automakers would accept that kind of cost!

    • 0 avatar

      “I presume this is on some variant of the TNGA platform,”

      It’s based on the eTNGA platform announced 2 1/2 years ago. There are A,B, and C variants of eTNGA. I’m not sure if it actually has anything in common with TNGA. It could, but looks completely different to me.

  • avatar

    – Merkur XR4Ti was a dumb name (thank you Bob Lutz).
    – bZ4X is a dumb name.
    – ID.4 is a dumb name.

    This Toyota is probably awesome, but its looks are… unfortunate.

    Toyota seems to struggle with its messaging. Let me help:
    Toyota: Reliable but Ugly™.

  • avatar

    A BEV Mirai would be cool.

    Or a BEV this:

  • avatar

    I also applaud Toyota for managing the battery
    conservatively. I believe that part of Tesla’s
    increased range is from charging the batteries
    higher and running them down lower.

    This platform signals, (to me), a switch from hydrogen
    to electricity. I think they saw, (in my opinion), VW gaining a
    foothold and woke up and smelled the Yuban.

    It looks like a Subaru to me. I think they have
    been hanging out with Subaru too long. I, cannot for the life of me,
    understand why Toyota, with such a good reputation, would
    be anxious to bed up with Subaru. Again, just my opinion.

    Flamers, have at it.

  • avatar

    bZ4x? A name that nobody will be able to pronounce? When “RAV4 Electric,” leveraging massive brand equity and accurately describing the car at the same time, was available?

  • avatar

    I would buy only if it had a triangular steering (wheel) thing.

  • avatar

    It does not impress me. Why no one comes with joystick in instead of steering wheel? Computer aided joystick would be the best way to steer the car. And you free your second hand to press various buttons or handle mobile phone.

  • avatar
    Shockrave Flash Has Crashed

    It should have been named BR-549.

  • avatar

    Did nobody notice they used the crash test vehicle for the photos?
    There can be no other reason for it to look so flattened on the nose.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • DenverMike: Matt, what’s confusing? It is the best solution. In fact, all vehicles (since the beginning of...
  • Luke42: “Lean” operations are only for the little people.
  • BSttac: The days of insurance companies giving drivers discounts for having a GPS unit in there car are over. Now...
  • BSttac: Definitely more excited for the new Z. Hell it might even cost less than the new Type R with the way Honda is...
  • MRF 95 T-Bird: When I would ride in my fathers 54 Bel Aire and 62 Impala the tube radio would take a few minutes or...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber