After years of commitment to hybrid development, followed by the addition of hydrogen development, Toyota has finally unveiled its first fully electric car; the bZ4X. And while the model is currently labelled a concept, Toyota has said the model will hit production in 2022.
Shown off at the Shanghai Auto Show, the bZ4X — ‘bZ’ standing for Beyond Zero, a comment on Toyota’s commitment to making its cars more environmentally friendly — is more or less a fully electric equivalent of the RAV4, with similar proportions, seating capacity, and the like.
Along with an array of sculpted lines in its side profile and thick two-tone wheel-arch extensions, it wears what could become a new corporate face for the marque.
Curiously it has a huge almost undisturbed panel on the nose where the grille would ordinarily be. The expanse of space is one the NZ Autocar office sees as being a little like that of the Tesla Model 3, although in this case there’s a small pair of minor grilles above and below.
The cabin is just about as frenetic in design as the exterior. The bezel around the driver’s cluster looks like something from a Tron movie prop, and the textured dashboard juxtaposes the gratuitous use of piano black. Toyota says the cluster’s positioning helps lower the dashboard and in turn increase visibility out the front window for both occupants.
Toyota hasn’t unveiled much in the way of specifics about the model’s mechanicals, although it did confirm that it sits on top of the e-TNGA architecture that the marque has co-developed with Subaru. It also added that the car will utilise a Subaru all-wheel drive system, making for an outright package that will “achieve a driving experience that is both comfortable and engaging.”
Expect minimal elements of this concept to be changed before it hits showrooms next year. It already looks largely production ready if some of its more mundane elements, like the door handles and wing mirrors, are anything to go by.
Another thing that’s likely to make it into production is the bZ4X name. Toyota says that this nomenclature is here to stay, with seven future bZ models in the pipeline, as part of 15 fully electric models it intends to put on sale in the longer term.