When it comes to SUVs, Toyota is an unforgotten name in the Indian market. With its Fortuner and Innova, the brand had practically captured the whole market. Now it has similar hopes to capture the electric vehicle market with its bZ4X SUV; the first in its ‘bZ’ series of battery electric vehicles. ‘bZ’ is a sub-brand within Toyota, which stands for ‘Beyond Zero’. With the bZ series, Toyota aims to go beyond zero emissions, by not just reducing carbon emission but also finding new ways to harness energy. The all-electric SUV will launch in the overseas market by next year.
Toyota has always offered us intuitive designs on its vehicles, and so is the case with the bZ4X. the car has a very bold stance. At the front, we get a big, fat bumper but just above are the extremely slim headlights and the razor-sharp DRLs, with a chrome stripe along with the nose of the car. Above the wheel well, we get blackened fenders, which complement the black and silver trim of the twin-spoke alloy wheels. Along the sides, the bold theme of the car is carried forward by the massive doors and ORVMs. At the back, we get a much XUV like look of the taillights, with a red stripe connecting the two lights. We also get to see split spoilers along with the shark fin antenna in the roof. The charging port for the batteries has been given on the front fender.
Inside the car, the cabin gets a dual-tone finish and looks very roomy and spacious. The car has advanced features like an all-digital seven-inch TFT information and instrument display and an infotainment system with a huge screen. The car also offers a panoramic sunroof. The BZ4X offers a yoke steering which is seen in newer Teslas. Those who prefer a conventional steering wheel can get a standard wheel. It is a 5-seater SUV and thus we get to see great boot space of up to 452L, with the rear seats in place.
The car is offered in two variants; an FWD and an All-Wheel-Drive model. The front-wheel-drive bZ4X is powered by a high-response 150 kW electric motor. It produces 201hp and 265 Nm of torque, enabling 0-100 km/h acceleration in 8.4 seconds and a top speed of 160 km/h. The all-wheel-drive model has a maximum power of 214hp with 336 Nm of torque; top speed is unchanged, while acceleration to 100 km/h is reduced to 7.7 seconds. The BZ4X can travel up to 496 kilometres on a single charge.
The batteries deliver a driving range of more than 450 km. What sets this car apart from all the other EVs is that it offers an optional solar panel roof. This captures solar energy with zero emissions and zero cost to generate electricity to charge the car’s drive battery. It can be used when the car’s ignition is on or off and Toyota calculates that it can harness enough power in the course of a year to enable 1,800 km of driving.