Toyota’s all-electric bZ4X made its US production model debut for the LA Auto Show. The bZ4X is the first of a global series of battery-electric vehicles to be introduced under the global “Toyota bZ” brand umbrella. bZ4X will have a manufacturer-estimated range of up to 250 miles for XLE front-wheel drive models.
bZ4X joins Toyota’s lineup of Toyota electrified vehicles that, in total, accounts for more than 24% of Toyota’s total U.S. sales volume. These include hydrogen-fuel-cell electrics, hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles.
Toyota plans to expand to around 70 electrified models globally by 2025. This future lineup will feature 15 dedicated BEVs, including seven carrying the bZ (Beyond Zero) brand moniker. This diverse portfolio of electrified products will help propel Toyota toward its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.
Built on the BEV-dedicated e-TNGA platform, a first for Toyota, the bZ4X’s Lithium-ion battery pack is placed flat under the floor, which gives it a low center of gravity. Its handling is due in part to the battery cross-framing structure, which adds to overall vehicle rigidity. The adoption of a lightweight body structure partially made of high tensile steel, as well as the enhancement of frame components around the battery pack and the forward and rear suspension also contributes to the agile responsiveness of bZ4X.
In addition, a redesigned accelerator pedal creates a smoother feel when accelerating and decelerating coupled with an intelligent throttle with slip suppression to provide control on slippery roads.
The engineering team also focused on features that maximize energy-saving and cruising range for year-round driving (particularly in winter settings). In addition to aerodynamic design choices and body weight reduction efforts, the following systems and equipment were adopted to reduce energy consumption, especially power used for heating in cold climates:
Heat pump system for both heating and air-conditioning
Seat and steering wheel heaters
Front-seat radiant foot-and-leg heater (first for Toyota)
In terms of battery safety, Toyota added many measures to help ensure cell integrity was protected. A non-conductive coolant runs through separated flow channels to maintain optimal battery temperature. The battery pack housing is designed to withstand a collision from any angle due to its frame and cross-bracing design.
bZ4X will be the first to feature the latest Toyota Safety Sense safety package (TSS 3.0). This system has been improved by expanding the detection range of the millimeter wave radar and monocular camera. Toyota has enhanced the performance of each function and added new functions to assist in normal driving conditions. For example, the Pre-collision system has been improved to offer Low-Light Cyclist Detection, Daytime Motorcyclist Detection and Guardrail Detection. Also, lane recognition is enhanced to add improved functionality while in Lane Tracing Assist mode.
By strengthening measures to help prevent and detect signs of battery failure, and introducing new technologies, the bZ4X adopted a design and a multiple monitoring system that is intended to provide safety and security of the vehicle’s battery system.
A meticulous production process that helps eliminate contamination of battery components and ensures battery durability.
Redundant monitoring of battery voltage, current and temperature designed to detect signs and occurrence of abnormal heating to help prevent overheating.
Utilization of a high-resistance coolant circulation system, which can help prevent fire from short circuits even if there is leakage of the battery’s liquid coolant.
Integration of the high-capacity battery pack within the floor of the body frame structure designed to protect in the event of a collision.
The bZ4X will go on sale in mid-2022.