The Japanese automaker has announced the release of the long-awaited bZ3, the next model in the bZ electric vehicle family. The four-door sedan has a range of up to 600 km which makes it one of the EVs with the longest range on the market.
bZ3 is a product of Toyota’s joint venture with BYD for the Chinese market. The new EV family will be marketed through the FAW Toyota dealer network all over China. The bZ3 merges Toyota’s extensive electrification technologies with BYD’s lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery.
What is most fascinating about the new EV is that the safety monitoring systems, control, cooling, and battery structure are all tailored specifically for the bZ3. The overall aim is to limit degradation and maintain the battery at a capacity of 90% after a decade.
Exterior and interior features of the bZ3
One interesting feature of the bZ3 is its “shark-like design” which Toyota says takes a cue from bZ4X. The redesigned shape brings down the vehicle’s drag coefficient to around 0.218. However, the bZ3 is even more fascinating on the inside.
It features a ‘Digital Island” which integrates a vertical screen at the center with a tray-type console. It’s not just about the large display. It also offers smart connection and wireless charging for supported devices which gives the user more flexibility while driving.
Other noteworthy features include trunk release, music, and air conditioning. Myriads of other controls have been integrated into the large vertical display including voice control. The bZ3 has a capacity of seating five passengers. It measures 47.25 cm long and 18.35 cm wide and has a height of 14.75 cm.
Plans to reconsider its EV strategy
Although bZ3 was specifically designed for the Chinese market, there are reports that the Japanese manufacturer may be toying with the idea of making the model available on the international market by 2024.
There are also reports that the Japanese automaker has suspended some of its EV projects in a bid to develop a cheaper and better EV platform. According to Reuters’ reports, some of the company personnel who chose to remain anonymous have confirmed that the company is considering making adjustments to its $38 billion EV rollout program.
The company has constituted a team tasked with the role of outlining a new plan that will enhance the existing e-TNGA EV platform or produce an entirely different and better strategy by the beginning of next year. This move could lead to the e-TNGA platform’s early retirement.
The e-TNGA platform was conceived to allow Toyota to build EVs alongside internal combustion engine vehicles. At that time, Toyota’s projection was selling about 3.5 million annually by 2030. The bZ4X was the first vehicle the company built under its e-TNGA platform.
However, as EV sales skyrocketed, the company revised its projection. Automakers are estimating that by 2030, EVs will account for 50% of new car sales. Toyota may be far behind in the EV revolution because the creation of a new platform and building an EV architecture can take up to 5 years.
Due to the review of the e-TNGA platform, Toyota has applied the brake on some of its earlier announced projects including the Toyota Compact Cruiser crossover, the proposed battery-electric variant of the Crown, and about thirty other EV projects it made public in December 2021.
The company will be working with suppliers to lower costs. Also, the company is looking for ways to enhance its thermal battery management so that batteries can be smaller, more efficient, and less expensive.
When contacted by Carscoops for comment regarding the e-TNGA platform development, the company said, “To achieve carbon neutrality, we need to develop our own technologies and work with suppliers and partners in the industry.”