Toyota previews bZ line of BEVs with solar-charging SUV concept
Toyota has expanded on its vision of the future of electrified vehicles, today announcing a bZ series of BEV (battery electric vehicle) models and revealing a new concept as the debut model in the lineup. The automaker will be showing off the Toyota bZ4X at Auto Shanghai this week, as the first of 15 BEV models it plans to introduce by 2025.
For some years now, Toyota has been signaling big moves toward electrification, previously revealing plans for a fully electric lineup by midway through the decade. The bZ4X is the first of the BEV models the Japanese automaker will introduce under its bZ (Beyond Zero) banner, with six more on the way, and a total of 15 BEVs overall.
The concept car was developed in collaboration with Subaru, and is built on the pair's purpose-built e-TNGA platform for BEVs, enabling a long wheelbase and short overhang that make for interior space comparable to a D-segment sedan. The car also features a low instrument panel to improve visibility and give a greater sense of space inside the vehicle.
That sense of space is further enhanced by a distinctly different steering wheel that wouldn't look out of place in an airplane cockpit. The steering wheel, which is connected to a steer-by-wire system, provides a clear view of that low-lying instrument panel, and Toyota says its shape means drivers won't need to change their grip when steering.
Built on an AWD system designed to leverage the responsiveness of electric vehicles, the bZ4X is also kitted out with regenerative energy systems and solar recharging, which apparently kicks in while the vehicle is stationary.
Toyota plans to begin sales of the bZ4X first in Japan and China, and then globally by the middle of 2022. In addition to the 15 BEVs in the works, the automaker says its number of electrified models will total around 70 by 2025. Expect more details on its plans and the bZ4X from Toyota at Auto Shanghai this week.