By Matt Degen
Toyota has recently unveiled its newest all-electric vehicle, and with it comes a broader preview of the automaker’s electrified future. The model making its introduction is the 2023 Toyota bZ4X, a 5-passenger compact SUV.
Details about the Toyota bZ4X have been trickling out for months, and the automaker recently introduced the Japanese-market version of this electric SUV. We’ve already written about that model, and much of its details carry over for the U.S. version, but not all. Now we can answer some questions, while others will have to wait until the vehicle gets closer to sale. Let’s begin with the basics.
What is the Toyota bZ4X?
Beyond just a mouthful of a name, the Toyota bZ4X is an all-electric SUV that is roughly the size of Toyota’s /zigman2/quotes/200537742/composite TM +1.16% bestselling SUV, the compact RAV4. Oh, and about that name: The “bZ” stands for “beyond zero,” which points to Toyota’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. The “bZ” moniker will also be used for future models, though we can’t promise it will get any easier to say.
Is this Toyota’s first electric vehicle?
Not technically. Toyota last made an electric SUV roughly a decade ago, in the RAV4 EV. (Fun fact: It was developed with Tesla! /zigman2/quotes/203558040/lastsale TSLA +11.00% ). Even before that, in 1997, it also made an electric version of the RAV4. But both of those were highly limited models. The 2023 bZ4X will be a far more advanced electric vehicle (EV) that aims for mainstream appeal.
When can I buy a 2023 Toyota bZ4X?
The bZ4X is slated to go on sale in mid-2022, but that’s the most detail Toyota is giving at the moment.
How much does the 2023 Toyota bZ4X cost?
It will be “competitive,” Toyota tells us. In other words, the automaker isn’t revealing its hand on pricing this far out in the game (they rarely do). But we expect the 2023 Toyota bZ4X to start in the low $40,000 range.
Will it be sold in all 50 states?
Is the Toyota bZ4X the same as the Subaru Solterra?
Very similar yes, same no. Toyota and Subaru co-developed their two respective SUVs, which share many facets both in their futuristic appearances and what’s under the skin. One main difference we know is the Subaru Solterra will come with all-wheel drive (AWD) as standard, while the Toyota will be offered in both front-wheel drive or optional AWD.
What’s the range of the Toyota bZ4X?
Toyota says a front-drive bZ4X will have a range of up to 250 miles. An AWD version would likely be less. This estimated figure is about mid-pack for the current crop of EVs – not the best, and not the worst.
How long will the battery last in the Toyota bZ4X?
Now here’s a figure Toyota can be proud of. You know how batteries degrade over time, from those in your iPhone to those in electric cars? Well, Toyota says the one in the bZ4X will retain 90% capacity even after 10 years. Can you say the same about your iPhone?
Is the Toyota bZ4X safe?
It certainly sounds like it will be. The vehicle will be the first to feature the latest iteration of the brand’s active safety suite, called Toyota Safety Sense 3.0. It includes the features we know by now, like pre-collision warning, emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control, plus improvements like motorcyclist detection and guardrail detection.
How’s the tech?
That looks sharp, too. In another Toyota first, the bZ4X will feature over-the-air (OTA) updates, which means you don’t have to bring it to a dealership for upgrades. This vehicle also features the automaker’s latest infotainment system and software, developed in the U.S. at Toyota’s Plano, Texas, headquarters.
What about that yoke steering wheel and solar roof?
The Japanese-market version of the bZ4X will offer a yoke-style steering wheel, similar to the latest Teslas. But the U.S. version isn’t getting it as an option, at least at the start. The same can be said about the solar roof.
What took so long for Toyota to make an EV?
Keep in mind that Toyota has been building electrified vehicles for decades, such as the Prius hybrid and even hydrogen-powered cars like the Mirai. But the bZ4X marks Toyota’s major foray into all-electric. The company is known to take its time to get things right, but when its products arrive, they often become benchmarks. Think of these past years as Toyota doing its homework.
Is Toyota making more EVs?
Oh, yeah. In reality, every automaker is preparing for a future that centers around battery electric vehicles. Toyota is taking an even broader approach. Along with EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrid vehicles, it’s also still developing hydrogen-powered vehicles as part of its wider plan for carbon neutrality in the decades ahead. In the short term, Toyota plans to have roughly 70 electrified models globally by 2025, with 15 dedicated battery electric vehicles.
How’s the bZ4X drive?
We’ll let you know as soon as we test it. For now, Toyota is just unveiling the vehicle to the media. We expect to test drive it closer to its launch next year. As they say, stay tuned.