- The second Toyota bZ (“beyond Zero”) electric vehicle after the bZ4X will be the bZ3, a five-seat sedan designed specifically for the Chinese EV market.
- Toyota developed the bZ3 with partners BYD and FAW Toyota, following the collaborative path that the Japanese automaker took with its first bZ model, which was developed in partnership with Subaru.
- A drag coefficient of 0.218 and specially developed batteries should give the bZ3 a range of more than 370 miles on the Chinese test scale. The EV wouldn’t get that high a rating in the U.S., but it won’t be sold here, so we’ll never know what the EPA might say about this new entrant.
Toyota has pulled the wraps off its second electric vehicle, the bZ3. Designed for the Chinese domestic market in partnership with BYD and FAW Toyota, the bZ3 is a five-seat, all-electric sedan that can go more than 373 miles (600 kilometers) on a single charge. A Toyota spokesperson pointed out that the “3” in its name indicates the sedan body style and size.
Do not expect this model to come to the States. Toyota said its partners developed the bZ3 specifically with Chinese customers in mind. That means that the bZ3 wasn’t just designed for movement but also a space that can be used as a “Family Lounge,” Toyota said, and can be a place where you would spend time with other people. A large center screen called the Digital Island can be used to connect multiple smartphones and control features like temperature controls and infotainment services.
Toyota said BYD contributed EV platform expertise and knowledge about battery technology. FAW Toyota has sold 10 million units and contributed its understanding of the China market. Toyota focused on advanced electrification technologies and making sure that the bZ3 is fun to drive, the company said.
More Range Than the bZ4X
The bZ3 is undeniably aerodynamic, with a cD of just 0.218. That kind of slipperiness allows the bZ3’s lithium-ion batteries to take the car further than the larger bZ4X model, which has an estimated range of up to 250 miles. It is important to note that the 373-mile estimate comes from China’s light-duty vehicle test cycle, while the bZ4X’s 250-mile range was calculated using the more stringent EPA test cycle. Even if the bZ3 wouldn’t get 373 miles in U.S. testing—and it wouldn’t—the battery structure and cooling, control, and safety monitoring systems in the bZ3 were all newly designed for this EV.
The bZ3 will be the first time Toyota uses a lithium iron phosphate cathode in its EV batteries. Toyota said that it and its partners designed this pack to keep 90 percent of its capacity after 10 years.
Both the bZ3 and the first bZ model, the bZ4X, are built on Toyota’s New Global Architecture platform for EVs, the e-TNGA, but Toyota hasn’t yet announced any bZ models that contain nothing but Toyota DNA. The bZ4X was developed in partnership with Subaru, which released its version of the EV as the Solterra. The bZ3 will be produced by FAW Toyota and sold through that company’s dealer network in China.
When Toyota filed trademark applications for its new line of all-electric vehicles, we learned that the bZ in the bZ brand stood for “Beyond Zero.” We thought that the X would stand for dual-motor, all-wheel-drive models. That worked with the first model, the bZ4X, and implies that the bZ3 will not offer all-wheel-drive options. Toyota’s trademarks in early 2021 also included the BZ1, BZ2, BZ2X, BZ4, BZ4X, and BZ5.
The unveiling of the bZ3 could open the dam on the reveal of more new Toyota EVs. As part of the bZ3 announcement, Toyota teased another bZ EV with a darkened photograph. The image shows a Prius-y-shaped vehicle, and the image file name is 002. Toyota didn’t respond to our questions about this, so make of that what you will.
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