With bespoke styling and a special interior design ethos, Toyota’s latest bZ (Beyond Zero) electric vehicle line-up will stand out from the brand’s current models. At the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show, the Japanese automaker launched the first bZ brand, the latest bZ4X electric SUV concept.
By 2025, Toyota expects to release 15 new battery-electric cars, seven of which will bear the bZ moniker, which is similar in design to Mercedes’ EQ brand, Hyundai’s Ioniq models, and Volkswagen’s ID range.
Andrea Carlucci, Toyota Europe’s marketing and product creation manager, said, “We have agreed to build what we might term a’sub-brand’: a modern breed of vehicles […] with very clear design language and, finally, a consistent customer interface.” “And, essentially, this breed of vehicle would be part of a family that cannot be connected to any other vehicle.”
That means that, while the current bZ4X design is close in size to the conventionally fuelled RAV4 SUV – and looks a lot like it – bZ cars aren’t meant to replace legacy vehicles or be offered as hybrid versions of existing models. Each will be built on Toyota’s latest e-TNGA electric vehicle architecture, designed in collaboration with Subaru.
The bZ brand is built on four foundations that will be present in all models: green energies, advanced connectivity, spaciousness, and positive societal effects. According to Carlucci, they would also provide a “very consistent user vocabulary” and “market interface.”
“The vehicles would place a heavy emphasis on human-machine interaction: the metre [digital display] is located above the wheel, the concept has a butterfly-shaped steer-by-wire interface, and there’s the driving spot,” says the company.
“However, due to the dedicated platform, the interior space can be handled differently than in ICE or hybrid cars. In some aspects, all passengers in the car will have the same perspective and have the same point of view as the driver.”