Toyota's all-electric BZ range confirmed for New Zealand
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Toyota will begin selling an electric vehicle in the New Zealand market in the near future as part of a global strategy to launch seven EVs in the next four years.
The brand unveiled a concept vehicle, dubbed the bZ4X, at the Shanghai motor show this morning. It says the vehicle will go on sale in international markets by the middle of next year.
Details are scarce — Toyota hasn’t revealed power outputs, estimated range or even how many motors the vehicle has — but the compact SUV has been co-developed with Subaru and could potentially slot in between the C-HR and RAV4 in the local line-up.
There will be seven BZ models to be launched globally by 2025 starting
with the BZ4X. BZ stands for Beyond Zero highlighting the direction of the company towards future electrified powertrains.
The new models will share an all-new vehicle platform designed specifically to house an electric motor and batteries. The design will allow it to take advantage of the extra space created by dispensing with the combustion engine and associated hardware.
Toyota says the EV will have interior space comparable to a large sedan.
The concept car has a space-age steering wheel set low in the dash to improve visibility.
The bZ4X’s all-wheel-drive set-up was jointly developed by Toyota and Subaru and is claimed to take advantage of “the unique responsiveness of electrified vehicles” to deliver “impressive off-road performance”.
“The Beyond Zero (BZ) range will be introduced in New Zealand to strengthen our range of electrified vehicles and achieve affordable mobility for all,” says Neeraj Lala, Toyota New Zealand Chief Executive Officer.
“Adding our first battery electric vehicle (BEV)to our range, continues our journey of offering powertrain choices for customers while helping New Zealand realise a zero-carbon future.”
“Toyota has been vocal in our support of the New Zealand government as we transition to a low emissions economy and we’re excited at the prospect of bringing Toyota’s first pure battery electric car to New Zealand next year,” states Mr Lala.
“Currently Toyota New Zealand’s average CO2 emissions sit at 165.9g/km* which is almost 7 grams lower than the industry average. We are focused on introducing balanced, lower emission products to our range.”
The SUV will also have a solar recharging system that recharges the battery while the car is stationary. Toyota says the tech will improve range in colder months — EVs typically lose range in cold weather.
“As a company committed to mobility for all, our priority is to offer affordable vehicles that meet the needs of all New Zealanders. This means a range of powertrain options to suit consumer needs,” says Mr. Lala.
“Like hybrid technology 30 years ago, adoption and affordability will take some time. This will allow time for infrastructure, technical training and servicing to prepare itself for accelerated demand and lower cost alternatives.”
“BEVs will eventually become a sustainable means of mobility. However, it will take time as the energy mix, battery technology and infrastructure are still being developed.” Mr Lala explains.