Toyota Motor Corporation surprised the global automotive fraternity in December 2021 by announcing 30 new Toyota and Lexus BEVs that are slated for launch by 2030. Among those, Toyota showcased 17 models across various body styles. In the front row was a small electric car titled Toyota bZ Small Crossover.
Following the reveal, reports suggested the EV may be called the Toyota bZ1 or Toyota bZ1X. Largus.fr reported in January 2022 that the Toyota Aygo’s pure-electric sibling would be christened the bZ1. TMC has filed trademarks for the bZ series nameplates from 1-5 (including the ‘X’ suffix), ready for future deployment.
The Toyota bZ small crossover features a nearly identical silhouette to that of the latest generation Toyota Aygo. The bZ series EVs appear to have been crafted using razor-sharp Japanese samurai swords, and the bZ1X is no different. There’s a lot of intricate bodywork with sharp creases and character lines, closed in design philosophy to Lexus than hardcore Toyota models. However, what’s clear is that the bZ1X will have a small footprint.
This is the most compact SUV in the bZ series―a small battery EV with a comfortable interior designed with Europe and Japan in mind.Akio Toyoda, former President of Toyota Motor Corporation at the Beyond Zero Mobility event in December 2021
Toyota bZ1X Platform
While the Toyota Aygo X is based on the GA-B platform—a part of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) family—the Toyota bZ1X could use a pared-down version of the e-TNGA. Japanese magazine Best Car, has reported that the smallest model of the bZ series is being jointly developed with Suzuki, which has mastered the art of producing profitable small cars. It is also a possibility that a Suzuki compact car platform could be re-engineered for EV application.
As aforementioned, the Toyota bZ1X would be the smallest SUV in the bZ series, so the possibility of a large and heavy battery pack for long-range seems out of the question. The model would be appropriate for buyers looking for a friendly little city car that excels in maneuverability with a compact footprint and short turning radius. At the Beyond Zero mobility event, Akio Toyoda revealed that target efficiency would best-in-class at 125 Wh/km (12.5 kWh/100 km).
Largus has reported that the EV would be FWD and come with a 35 kWh-45 kWh battery, enabling a healthy 185 miles (300 km) of range. Official figures are not out yet, but a vehicle of this size would not require extended range variants.
Price & Release Date
As per the previously cited Best Car report, the small EV is “being actively developed for release in 2025.”
Expect the EV to be priced at the affordable end of the market. By the time the bZ1X goes on sale, EV propulsion systems and battery technology will be largely democratized, and prices will hopefully be less compared to today. Toyota bZ1X price may range around EUR 20,000 (USD 21,000). The Toyota will lock horns with the next-gen Dacia Spring, and the VW ID.1, which is to be launched in the second half of this decade.
Featured Image Source: TopElectricSUV unofficial rendering based on the concept. Actual model’s design will vary.