The all-new bZ4X, the first model in Toyota’s new bZ – beyond zero – family of zero emission battery electric vehicles (BEVs) makes its European debut today, presented as a production-ready vehicle that will be launched across Europe in 2022.
At the same time as it marks further development of Toyota’s long-established electrified vehicle technologies, bZ4X also delivers important innovations in safety, driver assistance systems and multimedia connectivity, and expands the role of the car beyond a means of A-to-B transport to support new mobility opportunities.
Toyota will introduce the bZ4X with a completely new approach to how customers purchase their vehicle with a leasing programme designed to cover all the principal aspects of ownership. This “one-stop” concept will provide convenience and peace of mind, particularly for people acquiring their first BEV.
Introducing the Toyota bZ4X
The bZ4X is a spacious, comfortable SUV, with a new all-wheel drive system that provides class-leading off-road handling and performance, with separate electric motors for each axle. It is the first model to be developed by Toyota entirely as a BEV and also the first to use the company’s new BEV-dedicated platform. Based on eTNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) philosophy, it incorporates the battery unit as an integral part of the chassis, beneath the vehicle floor. This brings multiple benefits, including a low centre of gravity, excellent front/rear weight balance and high body rigidity, all of which make a positive contribution to safety, ride and handling.
The exterior design is sleek, powerful and uncluttered. It presents a distinctive new “hammerhead” frontal shape, signature slim headlight units and an emphasis on the front corners that communicates the car’s strong stance. The side view is distinguished by the car’s low overall height, slender front pillars and a low axle line that reflects the low centre of gravity. Wheel arch mouldings, large wheels (up to 20-inch diameter) pushed out to the corners of the body and thick rocker panels express the car’s authentic SUV character. At the rear, the design emphasises the corners, with a distinctive taillight bridging the width of the vehicle.
The design incorporates aerodynamic elements that manage air flow over and under the vehicle and contribute to the driving range. These include apertures deep in the front bumper corners to create smooth air curtains; a full underbody cover; a split roof spoiler and rear duck-tail lip spoiler; rear diffuser; and a precisely angled rear screen. The slim lower grille has a shutter that adjusts to channel cooling air flow to the battery and helps reduce wind resistance.
The long wheelbase allows for a spacious, open and comfortable five-seat cabin with the welcoming ambience of a living room. The instrument panel is slim and low set, adding to the sense of openness and the driver’s forward visibility. The “hands on the wheel, eyes on the road” principle is supported by the human-centred cockpit in which the seven-inch TFT instrument and information display sits directly in the driver’s forward eyeline, above the line of the steering wheel.
There is class-leading legroom for all occupants, with a one-meter couple distance between front and rear hip points. The load area has a capacity of up to 452 l with the rear seats in place.
The front-wheel drive bZ4X is powered by a high-response 150 kW electric motor. It produces 204 DIN hp and 265 Nm of torque, enabling 0-100 km/h acceleration in 8.4 seconds and a top speed of 160 km/h. The all-wheel drive model (further details below) has maximum power of 217.5 DIN hp with 336 Nm of torque; top speed is unchanged, while acceleration to 100 km/h is reduced to 7.7 seconds. All performance figures remain provisional prior to homologation.
The system offers the option of “single pedal drive” with a boost in the braking energy regeneration that lets the driver accelerate and slow the vehicle using only the throttle pedal.
Battery quality guaranteed
Toyota has drawn on more than 25 years’ experience in electrified vehicle battery technology to ensure the new lithium-ion unit in the bZ4X has world-leading quality, durability and reliability. Its confidence in the technology is reflected in an extended care programme that guarantees the battery will still operate to 70% of its original capacity after up to 10 years of ownership or one million kilometres driven, subject to the customer taking their vehicle to an authorised Toyota service centre for an annual health check. To ensure this guarantee could be offered, Toyota developed the battery with a target of 90% of capacity retained after 10 years/240 000 km.
This level of quality and performance is supported by multiple monitoring of the battery’s voltage, current and temperature, at individual cell level. If any abnormal heat generation is detected, controls are automatically triggered. Countermeasures have been put in place to mitigate any material degradation, and there are safeguards in the manufacturing process to prevent foreign matter from entering the battery. In a Toyota first, the battery is water-cooled.
Cold weather performance
Thanks to an efficient and effective heating system, reliable performance and range is maintained even in cold climate. The bZ4X uses a heat pump, drawing heat from the external air to warm the car, which is more efficient and uses less energy than standard air conditioning systems.
For added cabin warmth, infra-red radiant heating is provided for the driver and front passenger, installed below the steering column and instrument panel to warm the lower legs and feet. Provided as an option with seat heaters, it gives much speedier warm-up, in around just one minute.
The high-density battery has a 71.4 kWh capacity and is expected to enable a zero emission driving range more than 450 km (applying WLTP test parameters). The figure will vary according to model version and is provisional, pending official homologation.
The battery can be fast-charged without compromising safety or service life: an 80% charge can be achieved in around 30 minutes with a 150 kW fast-charging system (CCS2). From the fourth quarter of 2022 an 11 kW three-phase on-board charger will be available, further improving charging performance.
Toyota worked with its development partner Subaru in engineering a new class-leading BEV all-wheel drive system, that draws on the great AWD heritage of both companies. The system uses separate 80 kW motors to drive the front and rear axles. XMODE allows the driver to select a drive mode to suit the conditions, with settings for snow/mud; deep snow and mud (below 20 km/h); and Grip Control for tougher off-road driving (below 10 km/h). Thanks to this segment leading capabilities, drivers can take their bZ4X wherever the road leads them with full confidence, no matter the conditions.
The bZ4X is the first production Toyota to offer a steer-by-wire system, One Motion Grip; this will be introduced in Europe at a later date.
Dispensing with the mechanical linkage between the steering wheel and the front wheels, this electronic system adjusts the tyre angle precisely according to the driver’s intention. Being more compact, it also provides more legroom, improving driving position freedom and ease of entry and exit. The traditional steering wheel is replaced with the One Motion Grip-control, making operation smoother and easier, with no need for hand-over-hand turning. Full-lock can be achieved with just a 150-degree turn.
With no physical connection in the system, unwanted vibration from the tyres is blocked, but the driver still experiences valuable feedback. The steering feeling is improved through independent control of the steering torque; selecting different drive modes can change the steering characteristics to suit the driving conditions.
All-round environmental performance
The bZ4X’s positive environmental profile is not limited to the zero emission performance of its all-electric drivetrain. Toyota is making wide use of recycled materials in the car’s construction and will operate a programme of rebuilding, reuse and recycling for the battery, ensuring the lifecycle of its components and materials is maximised.
The bZ4X’s driving range can be extended with an optional solar panel roof. This captures solar energy to generate electricity to charge the car’s drive battery. It can be used when the car’s ignition is on or off and Toyota calculates that it can harness enough power in the course of a year for 1,800 km of driving.
New generation T-Mate safety and driver assistance systems
The bZ4X is equipped with advanced Toyota T-Mate systems for active safety and driver assistance.
The third generation of Toyota Safety Sense brings new and improved functions to help guard against an even wider range of accident risks. The latest developments strengthen its capabilities as a partner to the driver, progressing closer to the ultimate mobility society goal of “zero fatalities and injuries in traffic accidents”.
Thanks to upgraded front camera and radar, as well front side radars; the detection range has been expanded and the car’s ability to recognise hazards and obstacles in even more driving scenarios is further improved.
- The Pre-Collision System can detect oncoming vehicles and motorcycles.
- The Intersection Turn Assistance can now identify approaching traffic across two neighbouring lanes instead of just one, as well as detect traffic approaching from the side at intersection.
- The Emergency Steering Assist system provides additional mild braking to help keep the car within its traffic lane when the driver moves to avoid a hazard such as a pedestrian, cyclist or parked car.
- The Front Cross Traffic Alert system warns of vehicles approaching from either side at a junction, and the new Safe Exit Assist can help to avoid a collision between an opened door or exiting occupants with vehicles or cyclists approaching from the rear.
And for maximum convenience, the all new Advanced Park, which uses four Panoramic View Monitor cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors around the car, can even enter and exit the parking spot without the driver being in the driver’s seat – fully remotely!
Toyota Safety Sense also checks the driver’s wellbeing with an internal monitor that records their usual driving position and triggers a warning if it detects any deviation that might signal dangerous distraction or the driver being unwell or falling asleep.
The bZ4X uses Toyota’s latest, more powerful multimedia platform with intuitive 12” touch screen, giving access to cloud-based navigation with journey planning benefiting from up-to-the-moment traffic and parking information. It also provides BEV-specific features such as driving range, driving support and charging station details.
The driver can interact with the vehicle by sight, touch and voice. Enhanced voice recognition includes the option of using a new on-board assistant that can activate vehicle functions, such as adjusting the air conditioning or opening/closing windows, as well as multimedia services such as the audio and navigation. Over-the-air updates provide seamless software upgrades and new services.
New Vehicle Leasing Programme
Toyota is introducing its all-new BEV with a completely new approach to vehicle purchasing and the customer’s ownership experience.
Its target is for a majority of new European sales to be via a new all-inclusive leasing contract, covering the vehicle, maintenance, wall box charger provision and access to connected services, including one of Europe’s largest vehicle charging networks. If customers wish, Toyota insurance can also be included, along with roadside assistance and vehicle accessories.
Toyota will work with its retailers to ensure customers receive the best solution for their mobility requirements, with products that take into account the different levels of market maturity for BEVs across Europe.