Japanese automaker Toyota is cementing its grasp on electrification with the all-new bZ4X electric crossover. Toyota unveiled the bZ4X concept last April, a RAV4-sized SUV developed in conjunction with Subaru. And now, Toyota has unveiled more juicy details on its first-ever all-electric car, and what struck us is the availability of a wing-shaped steering wheel like in the new Tesla Model S.
According to Toyota, the bZ4X’s driver-centric cabin “emphasizes ease of viewing by reducing eye movement and enabling a distance point of focus,” made possible by adopting a wing-shaped tiller “that promotes eye guidance from hands to meters.” In other words, cutting off the top portion of the tiller improves forward visibility while allowing unfettered eye access to the top-mounted digital instrument cluster.
Furthermore, some variants of the bZ4X will have a steer-by-wire system, eliminating all mechanical connections between the front tires and the steering wheel. Toyota claims the bZ4X will have a lock-to-lock set at 150-degrees, allowing the driver to turn the wheel entirely without changing grips while making a U-turn or when maneuvering into tight parking spaces. The bZ4X will also come with a dial-type shift knob.
The 2022 Toyota bZ4X (beyond Zero) will ride on a BEV-dedicated platform based on Toyota’s modular e-TNGA architecture. It’s similar to the underpinnings of the Subaru Solterra with a thin battery pack under the floor and an integrated E-axle, merging the electric motor, inverter, and transaxle into a single unit.
The bZ4X has a 165 mm longer wheelbase than a RAV4 hybrid. It also has shorter overhangs and sits 85mm lower. Toyota is also adopting Subaru’s AWD and X-MODE technologies (the first for Toyota) to improve traction on all types of roads, including light off-road driving.
In Japan, the Toyota bZ4X is debuting in FWD and 4WD variants. The former will have a single, front-mounted electric motor pumping out 201 horsepower, while the latter has two electric motors with an 80kW rear motor for a combined 308 horsepower. The bZ4X FWD can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 8.4-seconds. On the other hand, the AWD dual-motor variants take 7.7-seconds, not bad for a family-sized crossover.
Both variants will have a 71.4 kWh lithium-ion battery. We have no word yet on the estimated driving range, but the electric architecture supports up to 150 kW of DC fast charging. In addition, the Toyota bZ4X has an available roof solar panel that generates electricity for around 1,100-miles (1,800km) of emissions-free driving per year.
The Toyota bZ4X also has a DC external power supply similar to Hyundai and Kia’s V2L function, enabling users to plug-in home appliances and other gadgets into the vehicle. Toyota will reveal more about the bZ4X in the coming months, including plans of releasing other battery electric vehicles as part of Toyota’s new bZ sub-brand. For now, we’re just happy that one of the largest automotive manufacturers in the world is finally (and officially) part of the EV genre.