Toyota finally debuted its latest BEV SUV BZ4X in close proximity recently. This electric vehicle that bears similarities to RAV4, despite being a concept car, and looks pretty much just like a mass production car. Let us probe into its charismatic design details.
The Toyota BZ4X has a striking resemblance to the current SUV leader RAV4, and even has a “4" in its name.
Concept cars released by automotive manufacturers in recent years are starting to look like mass production cars. This BZ4X concept car is the latest creation of Toyota, and the first model to adopt the BEV architecture e-TNGA platform. BZ is one of the electric vehicle series of Toyota, with 7 models expected subsequently, and 15 electric vehicles configured with the e-TNGA architecture will be seen prior to 2025.
BZ stands for Beyond Zero, and emphasizes zero emission. The “4” in 4X stands for four doors and four-wheel drive, since this is indeed a full-wheel drive electric vehicle, whereas the “X” in 4X probably means transboundary as the model has a slightly longer wheelbase than RAV4 and a lower height.
Although Toyota has yet to provide the relevant performance data of this model, it does look like it will be configured with a battery unit of roughly 100kWh and a possible driving range of 500km judging by the e-TNGA architecture. This model probably wouldn’t adopt solid-state battery, and will use the current mainstream lithium-ion battery, according to the mass production schedule in 2022.
Toyota BZ4X concept car（Source：Toyota）
BZ4X comes with a distinctive color combination of silver and black, and the front of the car, close to the windshield, is slightly dented, which is similar to the design of Jaguar I-pace. The lateral contour of the car bears similarities to RAV4, where the close out part at the bottom of the bumper is 100% identical to that of RAV4.
Critics commented on the lack of improvements and creativity on the vehicle, though why would you fix something that is not broken, especially when it is the best selling product in the world?
BZ4X looks like a mass production vehicle on the road from the outside, but the inside is an entirely different story. An unknown line separates the steering wheel and the dashboard for reasons only Toyota knows.
Toyota claims that the particular design emphasizes the steer-by-wire design of BZ4X, which facilitates smoother coordination between the computer and the electric motor. The central control panel is placed in a relatively low position to create new spatial sense, and allow the drive to have a better vision and concentration when driving.
Interior shot of the BZ4X show car (Source: captured from the video)
The steering wheel has changed from the bowtie design when the concept car was first announced in April to the ordinary circular design as seen from the latest show car, which seems to be the first step of marching towards mass production.
An interior camera is also installed near the a-pillar at the lateral side of the driver’s seat, which was not mentioned during the official announcement, and a bold inference is that the model may possibly offer L3 autonomous driving. After all, the 100 units of L3 autonomous car Legend from Honda would have been on the road for an entire year by the time BZ4X enters mass production in 2022.
Toyota is keeping details of the front compartment (which may or may not be there) and the trunk a secret from the media by refraining photoshoots. Looking at the e-TNGA architecture, the front compartment may be sacrificed, and the rear of BZ4X has a similar design to the hatchback of RAV4, so the storage space is expected to be slightly smaller than that of RAV4.
There are only minor adjustments needed before official mass production judging by the currently displayed BZ4X. In other words, Toyota is ready to penetrate the market with a BEV version of RAV4, and the final decisive factor may rest on the selling prices if the company wishes to defeat Model Y, Mustang Mach-E, Ariya, and a bunch of affordable Chinese BEV SUV. We will see next year if the king of cost control will create another miracle.
(Cover photo source: captured from the video)