After debuting its first full EV in concept form at the Shanghai Auto Show earlier this year, Toyota has finally released details on the production electric car’s range, battery size, and more. Though the new details on the 2023 Toyota bZ4X electric crossover apply so far only to the Japanese market, we expect the version sent to the U.S. will be highly similar.
Working to become carbon neutral by 2050, Toyota will introduce seven models under the Beyond Zero electric sub-brand no later than 2025. The bZ4X is one of those, and it will use Toyota’s new EV-dedicated platform, formally called e-TNGA, and jointly developed with Subaru (which is offering its own version dubbed the Solterra). Toyota plans to offer a wide range of models, and the extensive lineup will include plug-in hybrids, hybrids, and hydrogen fuel-cell electrics.
The Toyota bZ4X revealed in Japan has a 71.4-kWh battery pack and is available in either all-wheel or front-wheel drive; AWD models produce 214 hp, while the front-drive bZ4X pumps out 201 hp. Toyota says the all-wheel-drive SUV’s zero-to-62-mph run takes 7.7 seconds, while opting for front-drive lengthens that trip to 8.4 seconds.
As for driving range, bZ4X models configured with FWD could deliver up to 310 miles, compared to 285 miles for AWD models. These mileage figures are based on the (optimistic) global WLTP test cycle and could significantly change once testing is performed Stateside via the EPA. With the capability of fast charging (150 kilowatts maximum), the bZ4X’s battery can reach an 80 percent state of charge in just 30 minutes. Moreover, models equipped with an available roof-mounted solar panel can benefit from a little extra charging while on the move.
The sleek and conservatively adorned cabin features a large infotainment screen, a versatile center console, harmonious colors, and a good mix of materials. Soundproof glass and wind noise reduction are aimed at creating a tranquil cabin despite the lack of an engine, which typically acts like something of a white-noise generator in regular cars, drowning out other undesirable sounds. Tech and safety equipment includes over-the-air (OTA) software updates and the latest Toyota Safety Sense suite.
Oh, but how about the ultra-cool “yoke” steering wheel that only the Chinese market is getting, for now? It connects with a steer-by-wire system, meaning there’s no mechanical connection between the steering wheel and tires. With lock-to-lock requiring just 150 degrees of steering motion, this innovative setup eliminates the need to change grips while steering (Toyota calls it a “one-grip” setup), making U-turns and most turning tasks a snap. Tesla’s yoke, for example, pairs with steering that requires hand-over-hand flailing to reach maximum lock—not the most graceful act given how awkward it is to spin a yoke versus a traditional full-rim wheel.
Those folks liking the new concept worry not; Toyota states the forward-thinking yoke will eventually be rolled out to other markets in 2022 and beyond. The boldly-styled 2023 Toyota bZ4X crossover launches worldwide beginning in the middle of next year.