FAW and Toyota have officially unveiled their highly anticipated first electric sedan in China. Dubbed bZ3, the electric vehicle (EV) competes with Tesla Model 3, Changan Shenlan SL03, Volkswagen e-Golf, and other similar electric cars.
Toyota has developed its new EV in partnership with China’s FAW Group and BYD. The company’s first electric SUV, bZ4X, was developed in collaboration with GAC Motor.
So far, Toyota plans to launch bZ3 in China only, with a starting price of around $28,000 (Rs. 6.1 million).
Toyota bZ3 borrows BYD’s Blade LFP battery pack, though the battery size is still under wraps. The automaker claims that the car will have a range of over 600 kilometers on a full charge.
bZ3 will have two single-electric motor options — one in the lower trim level produces 183 horsepower (hp) and the other in the higher trim level produces 244 hp. In both variants, the electric motors power the rear wheels.
The EV will include all Toyota Safety Sense features such as lane-keeping assistance, collision warning, and avoidance, adaptive cruise control, autonomous braking, automatic high beam, road sign assist, etc.
The compact EV currently faces huge competition in China and will likely struggle in grabbing a sizeable market share among affordable EVs.
Restrategizing EV Development
Last year, Toyota announced its electric vehicle (EV) adoption strategy. However, new reports indicate that the company may be going back to the drawing board.
According to Reuters, Toyota has formed an internal group to devise strategies for improving its current e-TNGA flexible EV platform or developing a new EV architecture. The e-TNGA platform is already used in the bZ4X crossover SUV and will also underpin the upcoming Lexus RZ 450e in 2023.
Sources claim that Toyota’s EV development process is too slow and expensive in comparison to other manufacturers. To address the issue, Toyota is planning to rework its EV development strategy.