Almost two years ago, Toyota and Subaru had announced that they are co-developing an electric SUV to be sold under their respective brands. Well, Toyota now has an update to share in the form of a concept called ‘bZ4X’. The production version might retain the bizarre-sounding name. According to Toyota, the ‘bZ’ is an acronym for ‘beyond Zero’. And what about the 4X? Well, it probably means “4WD crossover” or something like that.
Whatever it is, it means a lot to Toyota, because, according to the company, the concept “previews a family of battery electric vehicles”. While Toyota is a veteran when it comes to hybrids and FCEVs, it is the last name when people are shopping for a BEV. So, this might be a start of an exciting new chapter for the company. In fact, Toyota is planning to introduce 15 battery electric vehicles by 2025, including 7 bZ models.
The bZ4X sits on a new e-TNGA modular platform, developed specifically for BEVs. The design of the concept is an interesting mix of new and current Toyota design language. While the front fascia looks fairly clean, the side profile and the three-quarter angles look super busy with lots of creases. It does remind me of RAV4 from certain angles. No surprises there, as bZ4X really is a successor to the RAV4 EV.
While Toyota is not following the dual-lamp trend for the front fascia, it certainly is following the connected taillight trend at the rear with a narrow light strip. As is the case with most modern EVs today, the closed-off grille houses sensors and related stuff. Apparently, the upper part of the front fascia (including the grille, lights and aero elements) has a distinctive “hammerhead” form. Not sure if Toyota is referring to the shark. Either way, it certainly looks unique.
If you’re going out on a date with a new person, the cabin of the bZ4X certainly becomes a good icebreaker for the other person. You and your date will never run out of things to talk about, especially that steer-by-wire yoke. However, it remains to be seen if such a yoke makes it to the production model as well, and most importantly, if it’s legal. The Tesla Model S which got an updated interior earlier this year, has a yoke too. The design of the driver display and its distance from the yoke is also another talking point. The double-decker centre console looks pretty cool too.
The modular platform with a long wheelbase is said to enable a spacious cabin. Toyota claims the rear leg room to be equivalent to that of a large D-segment model.
As for the technical bits, the bZ4X will, of course, be an all-wheel-drive vehicle with an electric motor on each axle. The horsepower, battery pack capacity, range, and all those stuff have been reserved for another day. However, Toyota said that the bZ4X boasts some kind of an onboard solar charging system that enhances the range.