Toyota has revealed a near production ‘bZ 4X’ EV concept car at the Shanghai Motor Show. The SUV is built on Toyota’s e-TNGA platform – also used in the electric Lexus UX300e (see our review). The concept car showcases Toyota’s new ‘beyond Zero’ strategy that centres on lowering harmful emissions. Toyota describes the car as the first in a series of human-centric, zero emission battery electric vehicles (BEVs). bZ4X and future BEVs will join a line-up of hybrids (HEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), along with the hydrogen-powered Mirai, which together, are the central drivers of Toyota’s electrification strategy and the company’s journey towards supplying the mass market with zero and in some cases negative emissions vehicles.
The Toyota bZ4X Concept, a medium-size SUV (similar to a RAV4) with all-wheel drive, is integral it says to its transition from a pure car company to a business dedicated to delivering better mobility for all. The bZ4X concept has been developed with Subaru. The new concept is the latest milestone in Toyota’s journey to reduce emissions that began more than 20 years ago with the launch of the original Prius. Toyota bZ4X Concept will be available with a world-first combination of a steering yoke and a steer-by-wire system. Toyota says ‘This technology gives the driver greater control, removing interference from rough road surfaces and braking, thereby giving a more precise response in line with the vehicle’s speed and steering angle. Steer-by-wire also dispenses with the traditional, circular steering wheel, replacing it with a new adaptive grip control. The technology eliminates the need for the driver to move their hands around the wheel as they make a turn, adding to the car’s fun-to-drive quality. This feature will be introduced first in China before being made available worldwide’.
Toyota Ireland told Motorhub that ‘in Ireland, consumer adoption of Toyota’s hybrids has accelerated significantly in recent years, with hybrid now accounting for more than 90% of its Irish sales and helping Toyota to earn market leader status. Toyota sells more electrified cars than any other brand and firmly believes that hybrid cars have a crucial role to play in the near- and medium-term transition away from ICEs, given their low NOx and CO2 emissions (87g/km average across its range, compared to the market average of 99g/km), and the fact that they can operate in EV mode for more than 60% of time on average’.
Steve Tormey, CEO, Toyota Ireland said: “Today’s announcement is another great example of our ‘Built for a Better World’ brand purpose, and we are excited about the forthcoming addition of BEVs to round out our low and zero emissions offering as we continue our journey towards zero and negative emissions… While BEVs are an important component of our ‘beyond Zero’ strategy, we believe that the multi-powertrain approach we are taking is the smartest way to get society to where we need to go from a sustainability point of view. With hybrid we can move many people to electrified driving – and importantly out of diesel as that will mean cleaner air for everyone. Toyota continue to lead electrification and pioneer innovative technologies, such as even more efficient hybrid powertrains, hydrogen fuel cell technology, and continuing our leading development in solid state batteries, as evidenced by over 1,000 solid state patents we hold.”Irish details on launch, pricing and other information will be released late 2021.