Toyota will have an electric hero car to sit above its range of hybrids from late in 2022.
The bZ4x electric SUV will be Down Under in the fourth quarter of 2022, Toyota has confirmed, at which point it’ll go head-to-head with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6.
Speaking with media about supply shortages across its internal-combustion and hybrid ranges, Toyota Australia sales and marketing boss Sean Hanley said there are no delays he’s aware of for the electric crossover.
“At this stage, we’ve had no information about any delays in relation to that car. We’re dealing right now with the immediate future,” Mr Hanley said.
“At this stage, our plans are to continue with our launch plans around the bZ vehicle,” he said
“Approximately our planning launch time at this stage is around the fourth quarter of next year.”
The bZ4x will line up against the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Mercedes-Benz EQB, Nissan Ariya, Tesla Model Y, and the Volvo XC40 Recharge.
Don’t expect it to be a volume game-changer, or to give the RAV4 any sleepless nights on the sales charts though.
“Pricing will be announced closer to introduction, but this car will be expensive, as was the original Prius that we launched back in October 2001,” Mr Hanley said earlier in 2021.
“This is due to significant research and development cost recovery. Like hybrids, battery-electric vehicle adoption and affordability will take time, but certainly not 20 years. They will eventually become a sustainable means of mobility.”
The bZ (beyond Zero) badge will be applied to at least seven electric car lines on bespoke platforms to be launched globally by 2025 – meaning a launch cadence of about two bZ-branded electric cars per year.
This seven-strong line-up will underpin the wider Toyota group’s plan for 15 all-electric products, available in various regions, by 2025.
Some of these other cars will be small-capacity “ua-compact BEVs” for megacities and ride-share operators.
The Toyota bZ4x revealed in Shanghai was jointly developed with Subaru, and sits on the co-created e-TNGA EV-dedicated architecture.
It’s promised to offer legroom equivalent to a D-segment sedan, all-wheel drive developed by Subaru, a steer-by-wire system, stationary solar recharging, and a “cruising range that ensures customers [won’t be] inconvenienced in wintertime”.
Subaru will introduce a version called the Solterra, however the company says a local launch isn’t on the cards yet.