Toyota’s first production battery-electric car, the bZ4X, is starring at the LA motor show, showing off a radical design that is largely unchanged from the concept shown earlier this year.
The ‘bZ’ element of its name refers to the Japanese brand’s ‘Beyond Zero’ electrification strategy, through which it will launch at least 15 pure-electric vehicles by 2025, including seven that use the bZ moniker.
Spearheading this roll-out, the bZ4X will be the first model to use the new e-TNGA electric vehicle architecture developed in collaboration with Subaru, whose own first e-TNGA-based EV is the Forester-sized Solterra SUV. Toyota's SUV will get its European debut on 2 December before orders open on 15 December, and Subaru is expected to launch the Solterra a few months later.
The defining characteristics of the platform include short overhangs and a long wheelbase, which is said to provide a “spacious and open cabin”. In fact, Toyota says rear leg room is comparable to the near-900mm offered by Lexus’s flagship LS luxury saloon. Here, the platform underpins a four-wheel-drive crossover (hence the ‘4X’ suffix), which is claimed to major on comfort, connectivity and openness.
Heavily angled styling cues, chunky black wheel-arch trim, a familiar silhouette and contrasting roof hint at the influence of the strong- selling RAV4 SUV, which has recently been made available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. However, various characteristics, including an all-new front-end design, point to a different design language for bZ-badged EVs.
In place of a conventional grille, a narrow black strip houses sensors for autonomous driving features, while sharply styled headlights and sculpted air channels are part of Toyota’s new “hammerhead” look, which aims to generate “a new attitude and road presence”.