Toyota has unveiled its concept of the much anticipated bZ4X, the all-electric SUV the Japanese motor giant has jointly developed with fellow Japan automaker Subaru and which is slated to hit the global market by mid-2022.
The bZ4X, which will be the first of seven models to be rolled out under Toyota’s bZ BEV-specific platform, was unveiled – as promised – at the Shanghai Motor show on the weekend. (bZ stands for beyond zero, in case you were wondering).
According to the two companies, the new battery electric SUV combines the strengths of Toyota’s “expertise” in vehicle electrification with Subaru’s expertise in all-wheel drive (AWD) technologies.
Among the few “vehicle characteristics” detailed with the concept’s unveiling, the car is described as combining a long wheelbase with a short overhang, which the literature suggests gives it a distinctive design and in an interior space comparable to a D-segment sedan.
Meanwhile the all-wheel drive system combined with the “unique responsiveness of electrified vehicles” promises an impressive off-road performance, a statement from Toyota says.
Other features revealed with the concept include a “uniquely shaped steering wheel” that is said to eliminate the need to change grip when steering; and a steer-by-wire system that provides a smooth driving feel aligned with the driver’s intentions.
And, like the Hyundai Ioniq 5, the bZ4X promises to offer a solar recharging system that “cleverly recharges the battery while stationary, and further enhances the unique environmental performance of a BEV.”
You can watch a video of the company’s senior general manager, Simon Humphries, going through some of the vehicle details below.
More broadly, Toyota used the occasion of the unveiling at the Shanghai Motor Show to outline its “home planet” company perspective, that it says will exist above and beyond the concepts of “hometown” and “home country” that the automotive industry has long been guided by.
To this end, Toyota aims expand its fleet to include a total of 70 electrified models, starting with the introduction of 15 BEV models by 2025, including seven new BEV models of the Toyota bZ series.
The bZ series is based on BEV-dedicated platforms that can be used with multiple variations on size and design and in partnership with Subaru and other car markers, including BYD, Dihatusu and Suzuki.
“By coordinating with policies that encourage the use of renewable energies, Toyota hopes to expand the range of choice for customers, and contribute to the further reduction of CO2 emissions,” the statement says.
Toyota says it first plans to produce the Toyota bZ4X in Japan and China and then to begin worldwide sales of the model by the middle of 2022.