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The bZ4X mid-size SUV, Toyota’s first all-electric vehicle, has graduated from concept to series-production model, with key details like range, charging times and outputs revealed ahead of its launch next year. But how does it compare to the competition?
Firstly, the series-production model looks identical inside and out to the concept, which was unveiled last April. That said, Toyota didn’t release much other bZ4X information at the time, so it’s only now that we have a more complete idea of what’s coming.
Specifically, two versions of the bZ4X are available, with the 1920kg entry-level variant fitted with a 150kW front-mounted electric motor for front-wheel drive (FWD), which helps it sprint from a standstill to 100km/h in 8.4 seconds.
Then there’s the 2005kg flagship version and its 80kW front- and rear-mounted electric motors that combine to deliver 160kW of power and all-wheel drive (AWD). It can reach triple digits in 7.7s.
Both the FWD and AWD are fitted with a 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery that delivers an estimated range of 460km and 500km respectively on the WLTC (WLTP) combined-cycle test.
Either way, battery capacity can be increased from zero to 80 per cent in 30 minutes with a 150kW DC charger, while 6.6kW AC chargers are also supported and a solar roof panel is optional, with it generating the equivalent of 1800km of range per year.
Compared to the Tesla Model Y, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, the bZ4X has a more conversative line-up from launch, with two of its three rivals already offering high-performance options, while the third is expected to do so in the near future.
That’s not to say Toyota won’t rise to the challenge of the estimated 336kW Model Y Performance (0-100km/h: 3.7s), all-but-confirmed Ioniq 5 N and 430kW EV6 GT (0-100km/h: 3.5s) with a GR bZ4X, but time will tell.
Range-wise, the Model Y (up to 75kWh battery), Ioniq 5 (up to 72.6kWh) and EV6 (up to 77.4kWh) can travel up to 505km, 470km and 528km respectively on a single charge (WLTP), so the bZ4X is already right in conversation there.
The bZ4X does fall behind, however, when it comes to DC fast charging, as the Model Y maxes out at 250kW, while the Ioniq 5 and EV6 can reach a segment-leading 350kW, with the former able to increase its battery capacity from 20 to 80 per cent in as little as 18 minutes.
As reported, the bZ4x is based on a new dedicated all-electric platform that was co-developed with Subaru, which will use it for its similarly designed mid-size SUV, the not-for-Australia Solterra. It will make its US debut at 10.30am on November 11 (AEDT).
The bZ4X’s fresh architecture – known as e-TNGA in Toyota parlance – also features heating for the seats and steering wheel as well as the front footwells – a first for the brand.
Speaking of a steering, a steer-by-wire system is optionally available for the bZ4X alongside a ‘yoke’ version of the wheel, with lock-to-lock set at about 150 degrees, meaning there’s no need to change grip and, therefore, for a traditional round item.
For reference, the bZ4X measures 4690mm long (with a 2850mm wheelbase), 1860mm wide and 1650mm tall, making it longer and wider but shorter than the best-selling RAV4.
So, when will the bZ4X enter Australian showrooms? Well, it will launch overseas in the middle of next year, with Toyota aiming for a local release to follow “in months” – the countdown to late 2022 is on. Stay tuned for pricing and full specification details.