Toyota has shown what is going to be its next electric model at the Shanghai Auto Show. The company released details about its Toyota bZ4X, which is going to be the first in a line of cars under the Beyond Zero brand.
The Beyond Zero stands for cars that give zero emissions. Toyota is making 15 battery electric vehicles before 2025 ends. Seven of them will carry the bZ branding.
Toyota has been working on a flexible electric platform on which future models will be built. It is calling it e-TNGA BEV. It collaborated with Subaru in the development. Subaru is believed to be close to unveiling its own EV based on the platform.
The bZ4X, a compact SUV, takes design clues from the RAV4, but has its own distinctive features. For instance, it has solar panel to help mitigate the effect of bad weather on the range of the battery. It also has a yoke instead of a steering wheel, although the final design might change a few things.
The bZ4X at this stage is technically a concept but there is no doubt it looks very close to a production model.
Information on specs and pricing is scarce but we know the competition will influence Toyota’s decisions. But the company said the bZ4X will be available globally in 2022. Customers in China and home country Japan, the two countries where it will be manufactured, will be getting it before the rest of the world, sometime later this year. We also see what the interior will look like partly. There will be two separate screens, one the center console, the other the instrument cluster.
The e-TNGA platform incorporates many features that are part of an EV, which means design and production will be sped up. The platform already takes care of improved visibility, regenerative braking system and all-wheel drive. It is flexible enough to accommodate different battery sizes, vehicle lengths and wheelbases.
Toyota is going to be busy as it goes all in with alternative-fuel mobility. It will release over 70 new models by 2025, including trucks. They will use hydrogen fuel cell and gas-electric, apart from purely electric. As the largest auto maker in the world, there is no doubt the goal is not unachievable for Toyota.