Toyota bZ4X for the U.S. misses out on steering ‘joystick’ [Update]

Update: ‘Toyota bZ4X GR Sport Concept’ section updated.

The U.S.-spec production Toyota bZ4X has been revealed, and the American model has some changes compared to the Japanese version revealed in October 2021. Visual changes on the U.S.-spec Toyota bZ4X don’t stop at orange marker lights. The interior of the American model has a conventional, round steering wheel. Internationally, a futuristic, yoke-style steering will be available optionally. We’ve explained this aspect in detail in the Features section of the story.

Toyota bZ4X at a glance

Here are the highlights of the Toyota electric car that is now available in the U.S. market:

  • The size and proportions of the bZ4X EV are reminiscent of the Toyota RAV4. However, the bZ4X looks sharper and more aerodynamic. It was designed from the outset as an EV, and it’s not a conversion of the RAV4. The lower height and coupe-styled tail section give it a sporting character.
  • Thanks to a dedicated EV platform, the bZ4X has short overhangs and a long wheelbase. The interior space is comparable to that of a D-segment sedan (Toyota Camry).
  • The low position of the dashboard and the location of the fully digital instrument cluster enhances the sense of space inside the cabin while also improving road visibility.
  • The bZ4X has a new all-wheel drive system co-developed with Subaru.
  • Solar roof, which charges the battery pack when the vehicle is stationary, also omitted in the U.S.-spec model.
  • U.S.-spec model’s manufacturing will take place in Japan, and sales began in the spring.

Specifications

Dimensions

Measuring 184.6 inches in length, 73.2 inches in width, and 65.0 inches in height, the Toyota bZ4X is roughly the size of the RAV4. However, as Toyota designed the bZ4X as an EV from the ground up, it managed to achieve a significantly longer wheelbase of 112.2 inches.

As for the interior dimensions, the cabin’s length, width, and height are 76.4 inches, 59.6 inches, and 45.0 inches, respectively.

DimensionValue
Length184.6 in.
Width73.2 in. (w/o mirrors)
Height65.0 in. (with antenna)
Wheelbase112.2 in.
Ground Clearance8.1 in.
Headroom38.6 in. (front)/37.1 in. (rear)
Legroom42.1 in. (front)/35.3 in. (rear)
Shoulder Room57.8 in. (front)/56.0 in. (rear)
Hip Room54.4 in. (front)/44.8 in. (rear)
Cargo Volume Behind Rear Seats27.7 cu. ft. (standard)/25.8 cu. ft. (with JBL sound system)
Cargo Volume With Rear Seats Folded94.4 cu. ft. (Toyota est.)
Toyota bZ4X dimensions

Motor

While most bespoke compact EVs have an RWD drivetrain layout by default, the Toyota bZ4X is an FWD model. The base variant has a single motor propelling the front wheels which generates 150 kW (201 hp) and 196 lb.-ft. of torque. The top-end variant features two motors, one at the front and one at the rear, each producing 80 kW (107 hp) and 124 lb.-ft. of torque. The combined power output of these motors is 214 hp. The driver can select the gear using a dial-type shifter, a first for Toyota.

AspectSpecification
Drivetrain LayoutFWD/AWD
No. of Motor(s)One/Two
Front Motor Power201 hp (FWD)/107 hp (AWD)
Rear Motor Power107 hp (AWD)
Combined Power214 hp (AWD)
Front Motor Torque196 lb.-ft. (FWD & AWD)
Rear Motor Torque124 lb.-ft. (AWD)
Battery Pack TypeLithium-ion
Total Battery Pack Capacity71.4 kWh (FWD)/72.8 kWh (AWD)
Battery Pack Voltage355 V (FWD & AWD)
AC Charging Input6.6 kW (FWD & AWD)
DC Charging Input150 kW (FWD)/100 kW (AWD)
EPA-est. Range252 miles (XLE FWD)/228 miles (XLE AWD)/242 miles (Limited FWD)/222 miles (Limited AWD)
Toyota bZ4X technical specifications

Battery & charging

The Toyota bZ4X FWD has a 71.4 kWh lithium-ion battery, while the Toyota bZ4X AWD uses a slightly bigger, 72.8 kWh lithium-ion pack. However, both batteries have the same operating voltage – 355 V. Two trims are available, namely XLE and Limited, both in FWD and AWD. The EPA-est. range, depending on the configuration, is up to 252 miles.

The maximum charging power on alternating current is 6.6 kW. Fully charging with a Level 2 charger takes about 9 hours. The maximum charging power on direct current is not class-leading. The single-motor variant supports charging at 150 kW, while the dual-motor variant’s peak DC charging power is just 100 kW!

Heat pump & AWD

Toyota has fitted a heat pump for both heating and air-conditioning in the 2023 bZ4X. A heat pump-type climate control system reuses the battery pack’s waste heat to warm the cabin when required, reducing the impact on the range.

The U.S.-spec bZ4X features a new AWD system, presumably developed with Subaru, along with X-Mode and Grip-Control. X-Mode is a Toyota-first feature and engaging Snow/Dirt mode with it improves vehicle stability and traction on slippery, dirt surfaces. There’s also a Snow/Mud mode, for unpaved and bumpy roads, which applies the brakes on spinning wheels to replicate the effect of a limited-slip differential. Grip-Control is an additional function of X-Mode, and it allows determining road surface characteristics and locking to a speed to prevent slipping on rough roads.

One year of free DC fast charging for bZ4X owners

Toyota announced on February 24, 2022, that American bZ4X customers would get one year of complimentary DC fast charging access through EVgo’s network. EVgo’s fast chargers are located at prime locations like grocery stores, shopping centers, and city centers. The facility would enable customers to charge their EV when busy with their routine errands. The process is simple. Owners have to use the Toyota smartphone application to sign up for the free service. EVgo has 800 DC fast chargers in the U.S. and thousands of Level 2 chargers across 68 metropolitan areas in 35 states. The EVgo chargers derive energy from 100% green sources.

90 percent range even after 10 years of use

Toyota has put efforts to ensure that the bZ4X is durable. It wants to ensure that the battery pack will deliver up to 90% of its full range even after ten years of use. Masahiko Maeda, the company’s Chief Technology Officer, has said that this is one of the highest endurance performance targets in the world.

Preventing the formation of degraded materials on anode surfaces is a key to extending battery life. Toyota is taking measures in various aspects such as pack structure, material selection, and control system to prevent the development of these degraded materials. Keiji Kaita, the President of Toyota’s CN Advanced Engineering Development Center, had said that the battery cost will reduce by 40% compared to the C-HR/Izoa/UX EV when it launches the bZ4X. So, cheaper battery replacements could be another advantage of the bZ4X.

The Toyota engineer in charge of the bZ4X’s development, Daisuke Ido, had told Bloomberg that the SUV’s battery would offer exceptional durability. The report states that Toyota experimented with battery materials and temperature management for 20 years, enabling the brand to extract extraordinary long-term battery life. The approach bodes well with Toyota’s historical focus on reliability—Toyota’s ICE powertrains are known to outlast their owners, and fetch a good price in the used car market. It makes sense for the Japanese brand to use its expertise in durability for EVs as well.

Features

The U.S.-spec Toyota bZ4X comes with features like 20-inch alloy wheels, a 12.3-inch Toyota Audio Multimedia system with dual Bluetooth phone connectivity and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a shareable Digital Key, Toyota-first front-seat radiant foot-and-leg heater, etc.

AVN

The 2023 Toyota bZ4X is available in Softex/Fabric-trimmed in Black in the XLE grade and Softex-trimmed in Black or Light Gray in the Limited grade. A JBL Premium Audio system with 9 speakers, including an 8-channel HiD-watt amplifier and 9-inch subwoofer is available. Also available are a plethora of additional standard Connected Services. A 3-year trial is included for the Remote Connect service, which allows Toyota App users to control the bZ4X’s headlights, seat heaters/ventilators, defroster, steering wheel heater, climate control system, rear hatch, and more. Remote Charging is also possible with Remote Connect, and it enables checking charging status, starting/stopping charging, and editing charging schedules.

Toyota Safety Sense 3.0

The bZ4X is the brand’s first model in America to feature Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 (TSS 3.0) safety package. TSS 3.0 includes a millimeter-wave radar and a monocular camera with an expanded detection range. Toyota has improved the performance of each function of Toyota Safety Sense for v3.0. Moreover, it has added new functions to assist in normal driving conditions. For example, the Pre-Collision System offers Daytime Motorcyclist Detection, Low-Light Cyclist Detection, and Guardrail Detection. Another example is Lane Recognition, which provides improved Lane Tracing Assist mode functionality.

No solar roof and steer-by-wire in the U.S.

A steer-by-wire system will be available internationally but not in the U.S. market. The steering wheel and tires have no mechanical connection, so unwanted vibrations from the maneuvers don’t make it to the driver’s palms. Toyota has set the lock-to-lock at around 150 degrees, making U-turns and parking simpler, as there is no need to change grips.

Price & Release Date

The Toyota bZ4X started arriving at U.S. dealerships in May 2022, posts from multiple BZForums.com users have revealed. Many customers have taken delivery of the car. Meanwhile, Toyota is conducting marketing exercises to popularize the new model and drive more traffic to dealers. Along with plug-in hybrid, fuel cell electric, and hybrid models, Toyota showcased the bZ4X at the 2022 Electrify Expo in Long Beach, California, from June 3 to 5, 2022. The Electrify Expo now moves to Seattle, and Toyota will be present there as well, presumably with the bZ4X.

Prices of the bZ4X start at USD 42,000 (excl. delivery, processing, and handing fee of USD 1,215). The bZ4X competes with the VW ID.4, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Nissan Ariya, and the Kia EV6.

ConfigurationToyota bZ4X Price
XLE FWDUSD 42,000
XLE AWDUSD 44,080
Limited FWDUSD 46,700
Limited AWDUSD 48,780
Toyota bZ4X prices excludes delivery, processing, and handling fee of USD 1,215.

Toyota bZ4X colors*

  • Heavy Metal
  • Elemental Silver Metallic
  • Wind Chill Pearl
  • Supersonic Red
  • Black
  • Wind Chill Pearl with Black roof
  • Elemental Silver Metallic with Black roof
  • Heavy Metal with Black roof
  • Supersonic Red with Black roof

*Every option except for Black costs extra

Toyota bZ4X GR Sport Concept

Toyota bZ4X GR Sport Concept front three quarter
The Toyota bZ4X GR Sport Concept has a lower ground clearance. Image Source: Toyota

At the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon, Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) unveiled the Toyota bZ4X GR Sport Concept. The modified bZ4X features an exclusive matt gray paint, large gloss black alloy wheels, GR badging, and GR-branded black sports seats. A lower height amplifies its sportier character, but we wish TGR had equipped it with an aggressive body kit to improve its presence. Toyota hasn’t revealed the specifications of the concept.

Toyota is examining the business case for a bZ4X GR Sport, the car’s chief engineer Daisuke Ido told Move Electric. Ido said that the bZ4X could see the addition of a performance variant tuned by GR Sport. He cleared that “it’s still not a concrete idea yet,” though. The biggest challenge facing the bZ4X variant isn’t increasing its power or torque, but rather giving customers the superior handling and performance they demand from GR Sport models, Ido stated. There is no set release date as of yet, but if everything goes according to plan, the bZ4X GR Sport could launch as early as the second half of 2023.

Toyota to launch 6 more bZ EVs after the bZ4X

Toyota has half a dozen BZ EVs in the pipeline by 2025, following the Toyota BZ4X. bZ at Toyota is the condensed form of ‘Beyond Zero’ branding dedicated to its electric car series. Toyota may apply the alphanumeric branding with an ‘X’ for crossovers, while the hatch, sedan, or MPV names could end with the number connoting their place in the ladder. Toyota filed more than ten trademark applications at EUIPO in 2020, and it would use a few of them in the upcoming bZ models:

Toyota BZ EV logo
The company has announced that the Toyota BZ EV range will include seven models by 2025. Image Source: EUIPO/Toyota

A total of seven Toyota EVs are planned for global deployment by 2025, and a few of them are of the SUV/crossover body style. The plan includes a large SUV, a medium crossover, and a medium SUV. Toyota has jointly developed the bZ4X with Subaru. A Subaru electric car from this project will be launched as the Solterra in the middle of this year.

All models would be based on the e-TNGA, given their appeal and the necessary compliance to American and European standards. The medium crossover and SUV would be 5-seat Toyota electric cars, and the large SUV could be a 7-seat model.

Announcing its new BEV strategy in December 2021, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) revealed four of the six remaining Toyota bZ models in the pipeline. These Toyota bZ EVs look like near-production concepts.

Eventually, the Toyota bZ range will start with the Toyota bZ Small Crossover, a potential zero-emission alternative to the Aygo X city crossover. However, the immediate launch will be a Corolla-like sedan, known as Toyota bZ SDN. Around 2024, the Toyota bZ Large SUV should follow, as well as a smaller crossover, the Toyota bZ3X. TMC has confirmed that the former is a three-row model, and the design suggests that it’s a derivative of the bZ4X. The latter, a coupe-style compact SUV presently referred to as Toyota bZ Compact SUV, would serve as a zero-emission alternative to the Toyota C-HR around the same time.

e-TNGA at the core of the Toyota bZ line

e-TNGA is Toyota’s brand-new dedicated EV platform, and it has a basic architecture principle where some main elements are fixed while others can be varied, such as the wheelbase, length, width, and height. Besides, Toyota engineers can vary the layout (AWD, FWD, or RWD) and the motor and battery capacities to suit user demands. Many different types of cars can be planned on a single platform.

The modular e-TNGA platform can be varied to accommodate different body styles and shapes. In the e-TNGA, “the position of the front and rear electric motors, the layout under the hood, the driver position relative to the front wheels, the width of the battery are fixed, while the wheelbase, number of batteries installed, overhangs, and other elements can be changed,” Toyota said.

The e-TNGA platform can take battery capacities ranging from 50 kWh to 100 kWh with range possibilities from 300 km to 600 km (186 to 373 miles), with modular options for front-, rear, or all-wheel drive. Each axle can handle an electric motor with outputs from 80 kW to 150 kW, which means the most potent Toyota electric car on the e-TNGA would have 300 kW maximum power.

Toyota electrification efforts in the U.S.

Toyota hasn’t announced EV manufacturing in the U.S. but is preparing the building blocks for it in the not too distant future. The company plans to invest approximately USD 3.4 billion by 2030 to develop and locally produce batteries, including those for fully battery-powered EVs or BEVs.

2023 Toyota bZ4X front three quarters
The Toyota bZ4X will go on sale in the U.S. in the middle of this year. It will arrive from the Toyota Motomachi Plant (Japan). Image Source: Toyota

A new company (TBA) and a new battery plant built together with Toyota Tsusho in the U.S. will support Toyota Motor North America’s ZEV transformation. Toyota aims to begin manufacturing batteries in the U.S. by 2025. The company will invest approximately USD 1.29 billion in this project until 2031. The company’s initial focus will be making HEV batteries, not BEV batteries.

By 2030, Toyota expects to sell 1.5-1.8 million electrified vehicles in the U.S. and increase their share in sales to nearly 70%.

Toyota bZ4X FAQs

What is the Toyota bZ4X release date?

Toyota has started delivering the bZ4X to customers in the U.S.

What will be the Toyota bZ4X price in the U.S.?

The base Toyota bZ4X costs USD 42,000.

Which EVs will be the Toyota bZ4X rivals?

The bZ4X will compete with the VW ID.4, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Nissan Ariya, and the Ford Mustang Mach-E in the United States.

Featured Image Source: Toyota