Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) shocked the world announcing the launch of 30 Toyota and Lexus electric cars by 2030, and revealing more than half of them at a Japanese press conference on 14 December 2021. The company has almost confirmed a Toyota Aygo EV as part of its EV onslaught, a model that is to be classed under the bZ series.
The Toyota bZ4X, revealed in October 2021, is the first of TMC’s 30 new generation electric vehicles. The company revealed a raft of models in the form of near-production concepts, some of which clearly are designed for Europe. The concept pictured in this article, given the working title Toyota bZ Small Crossover, was the star of the mega event where TMC introduced the 16 new EVs. Featuring a silhouette similar to the third-gen Aygo (Toyota Aygo X) unveiled in November 2021, it almost certainly previews a Toyota Aygo-like EV. The Toyota bZ4x will also be accompanied by platform sharing cousins like the Lexus RZ450e and the Subaru Solterra.
This is the most compact SUV in the bZ series―a small battery EV with a comfortable interior designed with Europe and Japan in mind.Akio Toyoda, Preisdent, Toyota Motor Corporation (Media Briefing on Battery EV Strategies on 14 December 2021)
According to a report from Largus.fr, the bZ series names have been registered and the Aygo’s electric counterpart will be called the Toyota bZ1. Carrying a strong visual affiliation to the design of the Aygo X, Toyota must ensure distinctive elements to make the bZ1 unique. It will pack tight proportions, and thin LED headlamps will be the dominant visual marker. As it’s an EV, there won’t be a grille, making for a clean and crisp appearance.
The “bZ” prefix in the Toyota bZ Small Crossover would normally connote that the production version will be a standalone EV, a model engineered to be an electric car from the outset. However, the concept partly borrows (and so would the final model) the top hat from the Aygo X, an ICE model that sits on the TNGA family’s GA-B platform. However, new reports suggest that the bZ1 will be based on Toyota’s dedicated e-TNGA platform, which will underpin the entire bZ1 range. It will be significantly shorter than the VW ID.2, which is expected to go on sale by 2025.
TMC is developing a new ‘E3’ vehicle platform that consists of certain elements or modules picked from the TNGA family’s GA-C platform and some from the EV-only e-TNGA platform parts bin, as per an Automotive News Europe. The company will be able to build HEVs, PHEVs, and BEVs on this base. It’s possible that it is considering combining the GA-B with e-TNGA for EVs similar in size to the Aygo X and the Yaris Cross.
Introducing the Small Crossover, TMC President Akio Toyoda said that it is the smallest SUV in the Toyota bZ line-up. Adding batteries to unlock a higher driving range can make the EV bulky and expensive. The compact model aims to appeal to budget-conscious urban dwellers with an attractive price and high energy efficiency. 125 Wh/km (12.5 kWh/100 km) is the targeted power consumption, Toyoda revealed in his address. Largus estimates that the front-mounted electric motor of the Toyota bZ1 will be wired to a battery pack between 35 kWh and 45 kWh capacity that will allow a range of close to 300 km.
Putting our best efforts into all aspects of these, with this vehicle, we are aiming for a power consumption of 125 Wh/km, which would be the highest in the compact SUV class.Akio Toyoda, Preisdent, Toyota Motor Corporation (Media Briefing on Battery EV Strategies on 14 December 2021)
Production & Release Date
TMC will reportedly manufacture the E3 platform-based models for Europe at its plants in UK and Turkey. Production of the bZ-series Toyota Aygo EV could go to one of these factories, or the Kolin facility in the Czech Republic that produces the Aygo X. There’s no word on the launch timeline, but we doubt if it would emerge before 2025.
The Toyota bZ1 could be priced between EUR 15,000 – EUR 20,000 (GBP 12,490 – GBP 16,653) when it goes on sale in Europe later this decade. It will rival the likes of the Dacia Spring and the VW ID.1, the timeline for which has already been delayed to the second half of the decade.
Featured Image Source: Toyota Motor Corporation