Toyota chief engineer Koji Toyoshima explained the philosophy behind the new-look cabin design: “Our target customer is someone who places importance on time spent together with family and friends. When they want to enjoy such times, Toyota’s bZ4X concept can serve as a hub for them.”
The powertrains on offer draw on Toyota’s 20-plus years of offering electrified powertrains, and are said to possess “class-leading efficiency and a very competitive driving range”.
Two variants will be offered: the front-driven entry car with a single motor producing 201bhp and 195lb ft cracks the 0-62mph sprint in 8.4 seconds, while the twin-motor range-topper – which uses four-wheel drive technology developed by Subaru – boosts power to 214bhp, torque to 248bhp and cuts the 0-62mph time to 7.7 seconds.
Power comes from a 71.4kWh battery pack which promises a WLTP range of more than 280 miles, with an “efficient and effective” heating system ensuring only a ‘modest’ drop in range in sub-zero temperatures. It can be charged at speeds of up to 150kW, meaning an 80% top-up can be achieved in around 30 minutes.
The SUV’s range is optimised courtesy of an on-board solar charging system that helps to ensure colder weather has minimal impact on usability – a noted drawback of conventional battery tech.
Like the radical LF-Z concept shown by sibling brand Lexus recently, the bZ4X uses an innovative steer-by-wire system, which removes the mechanical link between the steering wheel and front axle. Toyota claims this enhances control while minimising the directional influence of rough surfaces and braking.
Toyota will take the concept’s distinctive yoke-style steering device to production as a result, in select global markets, given the driver has less cause to move their hands around the wheel. The bZ4X will, said Toyoshima, make “driving easier and more fun”.
Another part of the Beyond Zero strategy is to achieve carbon neutrality of all vehicles throughout their entire life cycles – from supply chain to disposal. To date, Toyota has sold more than 17 million electrified vehicles, which, it says, equates to 140 million tonnes of CO2 saved. Between 2010 and 2019 alone, Toyota reduced its fleet CO2 emissions by 22%.