Toyota has just launched the bZ3 pure electric sedan, a sort of electric Corolla (a bit bigger though) or, let’s say, a direct rival to the Tesla Model 3.
The new car – and the second to be named bZ (for Beyond Zero) – is a creation of a consortium between Toyota, BYD Toyota EV Technology Co. Ltd. and FAW Toyota Motor Co. Ltd. and the car will be distributed through FAW’s network in China.
So we shouldn’t expect to see this new model on the North American side anytime soon, as the Chinese market’s needs are more pressing in terms of electrification. North American consumers are looking at SUVs and crossovers at the time of writing.
The new Toyota bZ3 is reminiscent of the bZ4X crossover at the front, with its “full” bumper that slopes slightly forward and its headlights that feature a strip of LED lights. The bZ3 also reminds us that the space taken up by the battery pack in the floor makes the silhouette of electric sedans affected by this reality, which explains why the car looks high on its legs.
The most observant will have already noticed the presence of handles integrated into the body, exclusive and very aerodynamic wheels, while the sculpted hood is also beautifully crafted. Unfortunately, this unveiling did not expose the design of the rear portion of the car, even though the manufacturer provided a darkened photo with the press release.
However, two shots of the interior were released, the dashboard which, like the bZ4X crossover, adopts a very linear shape, interspersed with this small screen far in front of the steering wheel and this other “vertical” touchscreen that overhangs this central console where a large knob serves as a link between the driver and the gearbox. The steering wheel is also quite square in shape. Finally, the second row confirms that the floor is flat, a big plus for passengers who sit in the middle.
The manufacturer claims that the bZ3 is capable of driving more than 600 km between recharges, although this measurement was obtained using the CLTC (China Light Duty Vehicle Test Cycle) calculation method, which suggests that the sedan, if approved for North America, would not be able to drive such a distance before having to stop. North American calculation methods are more severe, remember.
What changes the game with this new model, however, is that its designers claim that the battery and everything around it is completely new – and therefore different from what is on board the bZ4X? -Toyota is even confident that the battery will retain up to 90% of its capacity even after 10 years.
But, for the moment, it would be very surprising if Toyota were to use this model in North America. The priority will certainly be to improve the strategy surrounding electric SUVs in the months to come, but you never know with one of the biggest players in the global automotive industry.