Toyota presents compact electric SUV concept

At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Toyota presented the bZ Compact SUV Concept, a preview of a future compact electric SUV. The Japanese manufacturer has published pictures of the exterior and interior design, but has not yet given any details about the technology.

The relationship between the bZ Compact SUV Concept and the series-production bZ4X is clear: The front is dominated by Toyota’s new “brand-defining hammerhead shape” with slim headlights and an emphasis on the front corners. There is a split roof spoiler on each and the rear is also roughly similar in shape. The study takes the visual features further: the front looks more futuristic and aerodynamic, the overhangs are shorter. A “reduced, aerodynamic line management” is supposed to contribute to a low air resistance.

Inside, as in the bZ4X, a steering wheel in the ‘yoke’ style of the Tesla Model S Refresh is already noticeable – i.e. without a circumferential steering wheel rim. The cockpit is minimalist – and paired with futuristic design elements. In addition, Toyota, like many manufacturers, is increasingly promoting the use of “plant-based and recycled materials”, for example in the seats. In terms of IT and connectivity equipment, the study is supposed to be the forerunner for the introduction of a virtual, personal assistant “that reacts not only to the driver’s wishes or commands, but also to those of the other passengers – even in the rear”, Toyota informs.

The manufacturer describes the bZ Compact SUV Concept as a vision for the “bZ” (Beyond Zero) brand family. In addition to the larger SUV bZ4X as the first representative of the “bZ” label, the carmaker recently announced the bZ3 electric sedan, which is being developed in cooperation with BYD and FAW Toyota and will initially only be offered in China.

In December 2021, Toyota and Lexus had announced that they would launch 30 BEV models worldwide in the passenger car and commercial vehicle segments by 2030, aiming to achieve global annual sales of 3.5 million BEVs by then. One million of these are to be accounted for by the Lexus brand, which plans to offer only BEVs in Europe, North America and China from 2030 and worldwide from 2035. In Europe, the Toyota brand is also to sell only zero-emission models from 2035, as announced in early December – in line with the EU’s targets.

So far, Toyota offers as purely electric models the BEV versions of the C-HR and IZOA, which are built by Toyota’s joint ventures with GAC and FAW, the bZ4X and, via the Lexus brand, the UX 300e.


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