Categories: News

Why does the electric Toyota bZ4X have such a crazy Tesla steering wheel?

But let’s introduce the Toyota bZ4X first. It is the production version of the study model of the same name, which Toyota presented in April this year. The bZ4X was co-developed with Subaru, which markets the same car as Subaru Solterra. Both are on the new e-TNGA platform for all-electric vehicles.

Toyota is on its way to “zero emissions”, we read in the bZ4X press release, even though the manufacturer is lobbying hard behind the scenes to get environmental legislation off the table. In recent years, the brand has fully focused on hybrids and hydrogen technology. It is catching up in the field of fully electric cars.

Toyota bZ4X as big as RAV4, but more spacious

Toyota is still a bit vague about the dimensions of the bZ4X, but from the press information we can conclude that the SUV is the size of a Toyota RAV4. Because the electric powertrain takes up less space than a fuel engine, transmission and drive axles, the wheelbase could be increased by 16 centimeters, which benefits the space in the cabin.

Two versions of bZ4X: front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive

When the Toyota bZ4X goes on sale next year, buyers and lease drivers will have a choice of two versions. The first has front-wheel drive and a 204 hp / 265 Nm electric motor. It goes to 100 km/h in 8.4 seconds and is limited to a top speed of 160 km/h.

The second variant has four-wheel drive, with two electric motors that together deliver 218 hp and 336 Nm. This is also limited to 160 km/h, but goes slightly faster to 100 km/h: in 7.7 seconds. Both versions of the Toyota bZ4X have one-pedal driving, where you hardly have to touch the brake.

WLTP range of more than 450 kilometers

The battery size is 71.4 kWh. With a full charge, the bZ4X should be able to go more than 450 kilometers. According to Toyota, the range of the bZ4X does not diminish much when it is cold, thanks to a heating system for the battery. Toyota does not report how fast the car charges. Only that with a 150 kW charger it is 80 percent full again after half an hour.

Half airplane steering wheel and solar panels on the roof

In the interior of the bZ4X it is striking that a half airplane steering wheel is optional. It is linked to a steer-by-wire system. This means that there is no longer a mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the wheels. The bZ4X is electronically controlled, with a variable transmission. Overpacking is no longer necessary. ‘Full-lock’ can be achieved with a 150 degree turn.

Solar panels on the roof are also optional. They are always active and therefore fill the battery even when the car is switched off. Toyota says the panels are good for 1,800 kilometers of extra range per year. But that’s a bit of a meaningless figure. What is that based on? The number of hours of sunshine in Japan, in the south of France, in the Bahamas, in Norway in winter?

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