Toyota bZ4X, an SUV with solar panels and a steering wheel

Toyota bZ4X, an SUV with solar panels and a steering wheel

Toyota bZ4X

After becoming the world queen of the hybrid car market thanks to highly successful models such as the Prius, Toyota is preparing for another big step. A few days ago the company presented the concept of a new electric SUV, created in collaboration with Subaru: it is called bZ4X, and is based on the new e-TNGA platform, specific for electric cars. The new Toyota bZ4X looks to the future, both from an aesthetic and a technical point of view, thanks to some details that strongly distinguish it from the competition.

Speaking of the e-TNGA platform, Toyota has defined it as a flexible platform and easily adaptable to different uses: it should be very easy to change the length, width and pitch of the platform, so that it can accommodate battery packs of varying sizes - thus reducing production costs. This is exactly what happens in the case of the bZ4X, which will be a car with a very long wheelbase and plenty of interior space, thanks to the absence of various mechanical components that take up space from the passenger compartment on thermal cars.

The external design is made with strong lines and pronounced edges, large optical groups as required by the style of these times and clear, defined shapes.

The most interesting aspect of the car's exterior is undoubtedly the roof: impossible to guess from the few photos released by Toyota, but the new bZ4X will be equipped with solar panels integrated into the car roof, which will perform a valuable job of charging during long stops, but also while driving. Toyota claims that with these panels, range can be significantly improved in winter - counteracting the natural loss of battery efficiency in cold climates. The high-efficiency cells integrated into the roof of the Toyota bZ4X have been created in collaboration with Nedo and Sharp, which have already supported Toyota in the development and integration of solar panels on the roof of some Prius since 2019.

Le surprises continue inside, where we find a cockpit that will undoubtedly be full of technology: among the photos released online by Toyota, we have one in which you see a steering wheel, which inevitably reminds us of the one already seen on the new Model S of Tesla. It is impossible to understand if this is just a publicity stunt designed to give a more futuristic look to the concept, or if the car will really also be offered with this type of steering wheel. Thanks to the new electronic steering integrated by Toyota, there is no longer a physical connection between the steering wheel and the wheels, and this will allow you to change in an instant the angle of rotation necessary to travel very tight curves, thus avoiding having to turn the steering wheel excessively. .

There is still a lot of information about this interesting Toyota concept; for the moment we only know that the e-TNGA platform on which the car is developed can accommodate up to 2 electric motors, but the Japanese manufacturer has not provided any information regarding the proposed engines. The collaboration with Subaru will also allow the integration of an advanced four-wheel drive system.

The start of production of the Toyota bZ4X is expected between the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, with the arrival on the market expected in just over 12 months. It will be the first model of the 'bZ' series, which stands for “beyond Zero”, which by 2025 should be populated with 7 models, all electric.

Toyota's plan, at least as far as the US market is concerned, it is to further strengthen its position in the sector of cars with alternative power supplies (electric, hybrid or fuel cell) thanks to a range of 70 electrified and 15 fully electric models, a catalog that according to the forecasts of the Japanese giant should be valid for 40% of the entire market for cars offering alternative engines.

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