Toyota’s new concept car shows what’s to come for its electric SUVs

Toyota today unveiled a concept sport utility vehicle (SUV) that showcases the future of the brand’s all-electric portfolio. The Toyota bZ compact SUV concept, which is the size of the Corolla Cross, premiered ahead of the LA Auto Show.

“We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of the ‘Beyond Zero’ moniker,” said Toyota Group Vice President and General Manager David Christ. “With an aerodynamic design coupled with intuitive technical features never before seen in a Toyota model, the bZ Concept presents another possible vision of the very near future with our battery electric vehicles.”

Toyota’s battery-electric concept car was designed to showcase “environmentally friendly, sustainable materials” as well as “dynamic performance, leading-edge technology and a stylish appearance”.

The company’s nickname “BZ” stands for “Beyond Zero”, a sign of the Japanese company’s zero-emission future.

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AutoPacific President and Chief Analyst Ed Kim believes a production version of the concept would appeal to multiple types of buyers for numerous reasons.

“Assuming the production model is priced lower than the BZ4X, it helps Toyota extend its electric vehicle (EV) reach to more consumers – in this case, presumably younger and less affluent buyers. This segment is becoming increasingly important as cheaper EV models will be crucial to growing the EV customer base, and other brands will soon be launching their own budget EVs like the $30,000 Chevrolet Equinox EV or the $25,000 Fisker introduce pear.

Toyota is often criticized for lagging behind when it comes to electric vehicles for sale compared to its main rivals Hyundai, Kia and Ford. Hyundai currently sells the Kona EV and Ioniq 5 in the US, while Kia offers the Niro EV and EV6. Ford has the F-150 Lightning and the Mustang Mach-E on the market. Hyundai and Kia will add new electric vehicles by early 2023.

“AutoPacific’s data from its Future Attribute Demand Study (FADS) shows that while Toyota only offers one EV model (which hasn’t even really come to market yet due to the bZ4X recall), it is among the EV intended to among the top considered brands, reflecting the brand equity they have built with greener customers as a result of their leadership in hybrids,” said Kim.

“Appealing and competitive EV contributions will help ensure Toyota has the products to respond to EV-intendants’ desire for electric Toyotas.” Toyota’s new concept car shows what’s to come for its electric SUVs

Rick Schindler

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