Toyota’s Second EV — More Range And More Affordable

  • The new fully electric bZ3 sedan is one of the 11 EVs previewed by Toyota CEO late last year
  • The bZ3’s exterior styling inherits hints from bZ4X SUV but gets totally new interior
  • The bZ3 boasts 17% more range than the bZ4X.

Toyota launched its first-ever electric vehicle, the oddly named bZ4X, early this year—finally joining the EV race. Then, it was forced to recall all of those cars after learning that the wheels might detach because of malfunctioning hub bolts. In early October, it came up with a remedy for the problem and resumed production and sales. 

Now, Japan’s biggest carmaker is debuting its second EV with the bZ prefix—the bZ3. It just happens to be one of the cars previewed by Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda late last year when he stood in front of 11 futuristic EVs and boldly stated the company would introduce 15 fully electric models by 2025. The bZ3 is Numero 2. And while Toyota is remaining tight-lipped on pricing, sources tell us that the sticker price should start from around $28,000 making it one of the most affordable EVs on the market.

The bZ3 will get 17% more range than bZ4X.

Following the design nuances of the bZ4X crossover, this new executive saloon looks almost identical to the concept we saw on stage behind Toyoda a year ago. The new model adopts plenty of sharp angular styling from the bZ SDN concept in addition to design hints from the bZ4X. The lower section of the front bumper has been tweaked but the full-width headlight bar remains the same.

At the side, the sedan boasts a two-tone color combination giving the bZ3 a lower, sleeker stance that leads up into a subtly rising windscreen. As is becoming more common these days, the roof stretches to the rear of the car, giving it a hatchback-like rear end. The upright rear styling employs another full body-width light bar and a ‘bZ3’ emblem in clearing visible on the trunk. Compared to the bZ4X, the bZ3’s charging port is situated on the rear three-quarter panel, and not on the front wing. 

To help differentiate the new EV from the bZ4X SUV,  the bZ3 incorporates surprisingly different interior styling that’s highlighted by a large touchscreen that has now been vertically mounted on top of a slick new dashboard. The flat-topped and flat-bottomed steering wheel further enhances the sedan’s fresh new minimalist look.

Toyota is keeping bZ3 technical details close to its chest for now, but we do know it sits on the same eTNGA platform as its bZ4X sibling. Translated, that means we could see the same 71.4 kWh battery capacity fitted, while the bZ3 seems destined to inherit the bZ4X’s choices of powertrains — a 4WD with 215-hp and 337 Nm or a front-wheel drive spec developing 201-hp and 266 Nm of torque. In past press releases, Toyota has mentioned China’s giant BYD as a key partner so it seems fair to expect that we will see the bZ3’s power unit being sourced from the world’s biggest maker of EVs. 

Range appears better than the bZ4X however, with the bZ3 rumored to get 17% more miles or over 372 miles on a single charge. Making this figure possible is the bZ3’s better slippery aerodynamic efficiency than its bZ4X SUV counterpart which can only muster around  317 miles. 

OUR THOUGHTS

Toyota might have resumed bZ4X crossover sales after that embarrassing recall, but the firm must be hoping the new bZ3 sedan can shake off its sibling’s red-faced false start and secure customers with its longer range, sexier interior, and better cost performance. From what we’ve seen in the past—like Toyota’s quicker-than-expected recovery after the controversial sudden unintended acceleration incidents over a decade ago–Japan’s No 1 carmaker has the ability to recover and rebound quickly. We expect to see Toyota do the same with the bZ3 after shaking off the bZ4X’s wheel hub issue.

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