The Toyota Prius was years ahead of the competition when it first arrived, but the automaker has grown somewhat complacent in the EV space since then. Not anymore, as today the company unveiled what many will consider its first true, actual, all-electric vehicle. This is the Toyota bZ4X, and it’s packed with technology.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the bZ4X, as Toyota announced it as a concept in April, along with detailing its new bZ “Beyond Zero” sub-brand for electric vehicles. We didn’t get any information about specs, features, or a potential release date back then, but now everything is official.
The all-new Toyota bZ4X is similar in size to a RAV4, featuring sharp lines and plenty of battery-electric power in a mid-sized crossover. It’ll begin shipping in mid-2022, starting with Japan, then eventually rolling out to other big markets, including the United States.
While technically Toyota has offered full battery electric vehicles before in Japan, this is its first complete platform built specifically for EVs. While the bZ4X is its first true EV for multiple markets, we expect several more to follow soon.
As for specs and features, the vehicle is equipped with a 71.4 kWh battery pack capable of nearly 500 km (310 miles) per charge for the front-wheel-drive model, along with a single 150 kW motor. However, Toyota made it very clear these specs are for the Japanese model, and it’ll share more info on the US version later. The company will also offer an AWD variant that should get around 460 km or 286 miles per charge, thanks to 80 kW motors on each axle.
Like many other EV models these days, the DC fast-charging caps out around 150 kW, but Toyota claims it’ll charge to 80-percent in about 30 minutes.
Toyota will offer the bZ4X with an optional “wing-shaped” steering wheel similar to that of the new Tesla Model S. However, the company claims to have a bunch of technology onboard (like a steer by wire system) that should make it more comfortable for drivers.
Then, buyers can even get an optional solar panel roof, which Toyota says can “generate electricity equivalent to 1,800 km of driving distance per year.” And speaking of technology, the vehicle will have several drive modes, two large displays, including a display for the gauge clusters, and plenty of other smarts that it’ll share at a later date.
That’s about all we know so far, but we expect to learn more details about pricing, specs, and availability for US models in the coming months.