Toyota has been hesitant to get into the all-electric game, focused more on hybrids and hydrogen electric, but its all-electric bZ4X is a late, possibly good entry, finally. We’ve seen it before, but now we get all of it, in addition to news that Toyota estimates its range at up to 250 miles. And it has no glove compartment.
The “bZ” part of bZ4X, by the way, stands for “beyond zero,” which Toyota has said means that the car will aim for a “value greater than zero,” meaning that the car will try to not harm the planet and also be worth something more on its own terms, meaning that the car will try to be better than nothing, which, sure. Anyway, this is the first of the all-electric bZ line, which you will be seeing more of, as electric becomes the norm.
The 250-mile bZ4X range is for the XLE front-wheel drive version with one motor; there will also be a two-motor all-wheel-drive version. Toyota did not release a range figure for that one, and it didn’t give pricing for either. The bZ4X will get here in “mid-2022.” I would expect range to be shorter for the AWD version, and the price to be $40,000 or so, or probably something like $39,999. In total, Toyota says it will have 70 “electrified” models by 2025, which includes hydrogen, all-electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid cars. Seven of those will be bZ.
Like with almost every EV these days, Toyota’s press release doesn’t tout the bZ4X’s drivetrain so much as other things like the interior and styling.
The futuristic, edgy styling extends to the interior with premium finishes resulting in a distinctive look. With every detail purposefully engineered to create a sense of connection, it offers a driver-centric design that makes you feel like you’re one with the car. The unique instrument panel and precision-placed MID screen expands the vehicle’s feeling of space, while also helping to keep driver’s sight lines up and on the road. Soundproofing glass and wind-noise reduction features create a quiet refuge from the world outside.
With the roominess one would expect from an SUV, the bZ4X interior offers a spacious and relaxing seat for passengers. The accessible USB ports (A and C) offer power and connection points in convenient locations. The panoramic roof provides a feeling of openness and brings the outside environment into the vehicle. Passengers will feel pampered, with abundant legroom for front and rear seats as well as copious side-to-side space in the rear.
Toyota is also excited about more energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, one of which, according to Automotive News, will eliminate the glove compartment.
The Japan-built bZ4Xs shown to journalists here this week lacked a glove box, a subtraction that Toyota Motor North America executives explained was the result of the inclusion of radiant foot and leg heaters for front row occupants that is a brand first in order to conserve energy that would otherwise be lost to the vehicle’s HVAC system.
For the AWD version, there will be something called X-MODE, which sounds like an advanced version of traction control, a version of a thing that most EVs have nowadays. Available on both versions of the car will also be the newest Toyota driver-assistance systems. From Toyota:
bZ4X will be the first to feature the latest Toyota Safety SenseTM safety package (TSS 3.0). This system has been improved by expanding the detection range of the millimeter wave radar and monocular camera. Toyota has enhanced the performance of each function and added new functions to assist in normal driving conditions. For example, the Pre-collision system has been improved to offer Low-Light Cyclist Detection, Daytime Motorcyclist Detection and Guardrail Detection. Also, lane recognition is enhanced to add improved functionality while in Lane Tracing Assist mode.
None of this, really, is that surprising, as a $40,000-ish electric SUV/crossover seems to be the car that automakers have agreed is the starting point for their entry into EVs in the U.S., as Toyota is doing the same thing as Volkswagen and Nissan and Chevy. Wake me up when someone delivers an EV that is half the cost and size.