Tesla fans will say that’s precisely what the company did with the Model S Plaid, but there’s a big difference. The One Motion Grip has no mechanical connections between the steering yoke and the wheels, which is kind of frightening. Some companies have proposed doing so, but the bZ4X may be the first production vehicle to deliver that.
Without a physical connection, lock-to-lock is set “at around 150 degrees,” as Toyota states. That means you don’t have to cross your arms while maneuvering the car. Tesla kept the same lock-to-lock relation it had with a steering wheel with its steering yoke, which generated all the criticism around it.
That probably means that future vehicles from the bZ (Beyond Zero) family will also present the One Motion Grip system. Toyota said it plans to introduce seven bZ models by 2025. The regular steering wheel in some of the bZ4X pictures does not have a clear explanation.
Regarding the bZ4X technical specs, it is a 4.69-meter (184.7 inches) long SUV that is 1.86 m (73.2 in) wide, 1.65 m (65 in) tall (counting its antenna) and has a wheelbase of 2.86 m (112.6 in). The car is surprisingly light for an electric SUV: 1,920 kilograms (4,233 pounds) for the FWD and 2,005 kg (4,420 lb) for the AWD. Its luggage compartment can carry 452 liters (16 cubic feet) of cargo.
The car is built over a new platform that Toyota said it developed with Subaru: the e-TNGA. Strangely, the company said it was a joint development when it bears the same name as Toyota’s modular platform. The explanation may be that Subaru developed the AWD system and X-Mode.
Underneath the floor sits a 71.4 kWh battery pack that delivers up to 500 kilometers (311 miles) of range in its FWD version and 460 km (280 mi) of range in the AWD derivative, all under the WLTP testing cycle. As we already told our readers, Toyota promises it would retain 90% of its capacity after ten years or 240,000 km (150,000 mi), whichever comes first.
Working at 355V, it does not offer the quick charging capabilities of systems that operate at 800V or higher. Toyota said it could recover 80% of charge in 30 minutes, apparently from 0 (Toyota does not clarify that), in a 150 kW fast charger. It also states that the car will be available with an 11-kW three-phase onboard charger starting in Q4 2022. Depending on when the vehicle will be put for sale, anyone interested in buying it should wait for that.
A welcome solution on the first Toyota ever conceived to be an EV from the ground up is the solar roof. The carmaker did not disclose how much energy it could generate, but it said it would be able to add up to 1,800 km (1,119 mi) per year of range.
When it comes to power, the bZ4X may have a 150-kW (201-hp) motor in its FWD derivative or two 80-kW (107 hp) units in the AWD version (one per axle) for a total of 160 kW (214 hp). Both bZ4X will have the same top speed of 160 kph (100 mph). Acceleration times from 0 to 100 kph (97 mph) change a bit: 8.4 seconds for the FWD and 7.7 s for the AWD.
The video below about the bZ4X also shows it will not have a frunk. Toyota chose to put a lot of mechanical elements under the hood, which will make some criticize the vehicle as they did the ID vehicles from Volkswagen. Ford has given both the Mustang Mach-E and the F-150 Lightning a frunk, something Tesla has offered since the Model S. OTA (over-the-air) updates will be restricted to "the latest preventive safety package, Toyota Safety Sense, and the multimedia system," not to other aspects of the car.
With so much time to study what Tesla and other companies have done with electric cars, Toyota will still offer worse solutions with the bZ4X. It may try to seduce customers with the battery pack warranty and its reputation for reliability, but perhaps the company is exaggerating in playing safe.