By Sala Masindane
Although they pioneered the hybrid models, Toyota playing catch-up in the electric vehicle segment but if their bZ4X concept which was premiered at the Shanghai Motor Show is naything to go by, Toyota will not be on the back foot for long. The bZ4X concept has been developed in partnership with Subaru Corporation and is expected to go on production in 2022.
The “bz” is an abbreviation for “beyond Zero” which is reinforcing the commitment of zero emissions that the Japanese manufacturer is committed to. In terms of exterior design, the bZ4X takes on the the usual SUV shapes and does not shout EV. Toyota claims that the design “marries dynamism and utility”. With a high driving position to emphasise its SUV styling. The front has a futuristic grille, and the lights are in “hammerhead” design.
For the interior, the bZ4X will be built on the new e-TNGA modular platform that was developed for electric vehicles which means the SUV will have a long wheelbase and short overhangs that creates a spacious and open cabin. Toyota says that the rear legroom will be like that of a large D-segment model.
Battery management and drive
At the time of premiere Toyota had not released more details about the batteries or motor, but they claim that it will be more reliable, lasting even in cold climates. The bZ4X will have all-wheel drive system that gives genuine off and all road capabilities. While it also gets the steer-by-wire system that gives the driver greater control, Toyota claims.
The Japanese automaker plans to have 15 battery electric vehicles by the year 2025, while the local wing has given no indication if the EV SUV will be making it to our shores. The present position is that Toyota South Africa will continue to expend their Hybrid portfolio by introducing more variants.
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