Months after Toyota unveiled the BZ4X at the Shanghai Auto Show, we are getting more details on the company’s first purely electric car.
Toyota has revealed the BZ4X will have a yoke in place of a steering wheel, similar to Tesla’s recent update to the Model S. Tesla’s decision has been controversial, with some people who have driven the new Model S claiming it added nothing significant to the driving experience. However, with Toyota adopting this form of steering that has been associated with racing cars, it can become a trend in the auto industry.
Toyota claims the yoke helps the driver see the dashboard better, which is farther away in the BZ4X. The new EV also implements the steer by wire system which doesn’t require the yoke to be mechanically connected to the front wheels, instead, relying on software. The BZ4X should therefore be easier to steer because the yoke will only turn 150 degrees.
However, for people who favor the tested and trusted method, Toyota will release a version that has a steering wheel.
Another interesting feature of the BZ4X is the solar roof which Toyota claims can add up to 1,800 km per year to the driving range. However, this feature is optional.
Toyota will sell the BZ4X with two different powertrains. The first one will come with a front-mounted electric motor that produces 201 hp and gets 310 miles from a 71.4 kWh battery pack. The second option is all-wheel-drive and gets 286 from the same battery. Both range estimates are from WLTC, and EPA values might be lower.
The battery will charge to 80 percent in 30 minutes with charging capped at 150 kW.
Inside, there is a prominent touchscreen center console which Toyota is augmenting with physical buttons that can also be found on the yoke or steering wheel.
There is no information about the price yet but Toyota says the car will be available in Japan before the middle of 2022. It would also announce if and when the vehicle will come to the US.
Toyota based the BZ4X on the new e-TNGA platform, which it developed with Subaru. The same platform will support the other EVs Toyota plans to make as it shifts focus to making electric cars. Subaru is understood to be working on its own EV based on the e-TNGA platform.