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Toyota bZ Compact SUV Concept revealed

Toyota previewed it bZ Compact SUV concept at the Los Angeles auto show, though it didn’t provide any specs.

bZ Compact SUV is one of the 16 electric concept models of Toyota and Lexus previewed late last year, though Toyota didn’t reveal its interior at the time.

It has now showcased the electric crossover’s futuristic, rather industrially luxurious cabin, using eco-friendly materials – for example, the seats are made from recycled and plant-based materials.

The wide lever sits in front of the driver, while the gear lever rests on an unusual platform that connects to the cabin floor. In addition, on this platform there are two wireless charging docks and a car start button.

There’s a wide touchscreen and standalone digital instrument cluster, and both feature unusually curved glass screens.

Toyota says an in-car personal assistant named Yui will “connect the driver and passenger to the vehicle,” responding to requests and commands from occupants using audio and visual cues. move around the cabin.

While it doesn’t release any numbers on power, torque, battery or range, Toyota says the concept offers “exciting driving pleasure, exhilarating performance” and ” leading technology”.

The bigger one bZ4xscheduled for launch in the second half of 2023, will be offered overseas with a choice of a 150 kW single-engine front-wheel drive configuration or a 160 kW all-wheel drive configuration, both available combined with a 71.4 kWh lithium battery pack.

The single-engine version has a claimed driving range of 516 km on the more stringent WLTP cycle, while the dual-engine version has 470 km.

The shape and proportions of the bZ Compact SUV Concept are somewhat reminiscent of the present Toyota C-HRsold only in Australia with petrol or hybrid powertrains but offered in China as a fully electric vehicle.

The exterior styling of this concept is somewhat similar to that of a car depicted in a Australian patent filing in September.

There’s a wheel at each corner with minimal overhang and, as Toyota puts it, “a narrower cabin design” to give it a more agile look.

The company says the bZ Compact SUV Concept has been designed as an all-battery vehicle and it plans to deliver a total of 30 EVs, five of which carry the bZ nameplate.

When revealing the bZ Compact SUV Concept, Toyota did not confirm when it plans to sell these 30 EVs. It had previously pledged to have them by 2030, but a recent report says Toyota is considering a drastic overhaul of its EV plans.

It recently introduced the bZ4x mid-size crossover and revealed car bZ3 for China.

While the automaker considers its options, it is said to have halted several electric vehicle projects announced by the end of 2021. Document seen by Reuters says work has stopped on an EV version of the Crown and the Compact Cruiser crossover, whose styling is reminiscent of the FJ Cruiser.

One plan under consideration is for Toyota to incorporate new technologies into the e-TNGA platform to extend its life and make it more competitive.

Another more drastic option is that Toyota will phase out the e-TNGA EV structure much sooner than expected, with many models being canceled.

While this will leave Toyota behind in the short term, it will allow the Japanese giant to focus on developing a new basic EV architecture, which could take up to five years.

The electric-only e-TNGA platform and the petrol/hybrid TNGA platform have much in common, accelerating the development time of the legacy platform and allowing vehicles on both architectures to be built on the same platform. production line.

As Toyota is operating on lower EV forecasts, these features are seen as benefits, but with the focus increasingly shifting to EVs, the platform could hold the company back.

The company has argued that there are numerous automotive solutions to the climate crisis, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, BEVs and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. As a result, the embrace of BEV has been slower than most other companies.

On top of that, the introduction of its first e-TNGA models, the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterrawas significantly hampered by a three-month production shutdown as the company struggled to fix an issue that could have resulted in the wheel falling off.

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