2023 Toyota bZ4X
bZ4X is the official name of Toyota’s first battery-electric vehicle since its experiment with a Tesla-powered Toyota RAV4. Initial U.S. sales will be concentrated in California and a few other EV-friendly states, but the new electric crossover eventually will be available in all 50 states.
For the bZ4X, though, some of the edges and creases have been softened, providing a softer look than the RAV4. The gently curved hood drops sharply to a grille-less front fascia with knife-slit narrow LED lights. The roof slopes slightly to the rear, where a light bar spans the back end and trapezoidal shapes draw the eye from the taillights to the rear wheels. Altogether, it gives the bZ4X a wide, muscular stance.
The cargo bay behind the rear seats is about the same size as the Toyota Venza‘s 28.8 cubic feet, much less than the 37.6 cubic feet in the similar-sized RAV4. Like the Venza, the bZ has a rear liftgate window that leans sharply forward, cutting into the space provided by a more traditional SUV-crossover’s upright liftgate.
The front-wheel-drive variants of the bZ4X get a 201-horsepower electric motor with 195 pound-feet of torque. The dual-motor (one on each axle) all-wheel-drive versions get a slight boost to 215 total hp and 248 lb-ft. That gives the bZ fairly leisurely acceleration. Toyota reports it will take 7.7 seconds from zero to 60 mph for the dual-motor versions and 8.4 seconds for the single motors. Power is stored in a lithium-ion battery pack with 71.4 kWh total capacity for the single-motor version, 72.8 kWh for the two-motor models. On a 240-volt charger, the type used for charging at restaurants, shopping malls, museums, and movie theaters, the bZ4X’s onboard 6.6-kilowatt charger can refill a depleted battery in about 9 hours. An 11-kW charger, reportedly coming in late 2022, would take 6 hours.
The bZ will use a liquid cooling system for its batteries, and Toyota says it is aiming for 90 percent of capacity remaining after 10 years of driving 15,000 miles a year.
Toyota says the longest-range version of the bZ4X will deliver up to 250 miles per charge. The average driver in the U.S. covers less than 30 miles a day. And, according to Toyota, most EV buyers also have a gas-burning vehicle that can handle long-distance driving. But several competitors are about to launch similarly sized electric crossovers with up to 300 miles of range and, in many shoppers’ minds, more is better, especially if there’s not much cost difference.
Likely rivals in the current market are the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, some trims of the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Nissan Leaf Plus, and the Volkswagen ID.4. Coming in 2022 are the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Nissan Ariya, and Subaru Solterra.
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