Toyota reveals four new bZ concepts – EV SUVs and sedan previewed

Toyota president Akio Toyoda dropped a bombshell today by announcing the carmaker’s strategy for achieving carbon neutrality, with a specific focus on battery electric vehicles (BEVs). At a media briefing held at the soon-to-be-closed Mega Web, he revealed that Toyota will roll out 30 BEVs by 2030 and presented 15 vehicles – most being concepts – on stage.

“We are living in a diversified world and in an era in which it is hard to predict the future. Therefore, it is difficult to make everyone happy with a one-size-fits-all option. That is why Toyota wants to prepare as many options as possible for our customers around the world,” Toyoda said during the media briefing.

He added that electrified vehicles can be divided into two categories, depending on the energy that they use. One of the categories is that of “carbon-reducing vehicles,” which refers to vehicles that use clean energy sources.

“If the energy that powers vehicles is not clean, the use of an electrified vehicle, no matter what type it might be, would not result in zero CO2 emissions,” he explained. Meanwhile, the other category is for “carbon-neutral vehicles” that run on clean energy and achieve zero CO2 emissions in the whole process of their use.

Of the 15 vehicles on stage, we’ll be focusing on just five that are given the bZ (beyond Zero) branding in this post. We’ve also prepared separate posts that discuss Toyota’s general strategy as well as Lexus Electrified and various lifestyle vehicles, so check those out.

The first production model in the bZ range is the bZ4X, which has already made its full debut earlier and will be built at Toyota’s Motomachi Plant ahead of a market launch next year. Developed in collaboration with Subaru, the fully electric crossover is underpinned by the e-TNGA platform and offers up to 500 km of range.

Moving on from the familiar to something new, the bZ concepts parked alongside the bZ4X preview upcoming BEVs and have uninspiring placeholder names for now. Starting with the bZ SDN, it is four-door sedan that Toyoda says “meets customers’ expectations for a first car” and features a sleek body with a design direction clearly inspired by the bZ4X.

The other concepts are all SUVs of varying sizes, including an Aygo-like crossover appropriately called the bZ Small Crossover. Described as a “a small battery EV with a comfortable interior,” the concept previews the most compact SUV in the bZ series and is designed with Europe and Japan markets in mind.

Toyoda points out that because the bZ Small Crossover is meant to be a small vehicle, so adding more batteries to extend cruising range is undesirable, as doing so would result in a bigger, heavier and more expensive vehicle.

“The important thing is to what degree we can increase a vehicle’s overall energy efficiency, in other words how much less energy a vehicle needs to run. This is exactly the technology that Toyota has been refining for more than 30 years. Putting our best efforts into all aspects of these, with this vehicle, we are aiming for a power consumption of 125 watt-hours per km, which would be the highest in the compact SUV class,” Toyoda said.

The next SUV is a mid-size vehicle dubbed the bZ Compact SUV, which appears as a Tesla Model Y rival, and described as having a “beautiful silhouette that presages a new era for BEVs.” Lastly, there’s the bZ Large SUV that previews a model that will be offered with third-row seats and is aimed at families.

Like the bZ SDN, the bZ SUV concepts have visual ties to the bZ4X, with angled surfaces and sharp lines prominently displayed. Toyoda also stated that the bZ range of cars will be reasonably priced mass-production models, keeping in line with the carmaker’s focus on affordability.

What wasn’t shown during the event were the bZ concept’s interiors, and neither did we receive any official specifications. Also not mentioned are specific timelines on when the production versions of these concepts will come to market, although based on what’s mentioned at the start, it should be by 2030.

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