Toyota has finally decided to start playing the EV game, or was that their intention all along? More to come on that later.
The real question is, how is Toyota, the world's largest automaker going to compete in the EV segment against the world's largest EV maker? More specifically, how will the BZ4X compare to the Model Y?
I want to take a look at a few different segments that people will want to know. We will look at battery range/performance, technology features, price, and of course, looks. Knowing these few areas should help us understand the BZ4X and how well it will be received by consumers.
BZ4X Battery Technology/Performance
While it is hard to find specs on a concept car, I would bet Toyota has something up its sleeve with lithium-ion that will transition into solid-state.
Toyota has not made massive public announcements about battery tech until recently, which tells me they have been doing a ton of R and D.
On the other hand, the Tesla Model Y will get 4680 battery cells. The 4680 lithium battery is undoubtedly one of the best batteries in EV cars to date. So, Toyota will have to pull out all the stops to compete with Telsa at this level.
Toyota always plays a very conservative role with every car they build. Even the famed Supra is radically underrated. But what Toyota does for consumers is give them a long-term solution. The BZ4X may only have an initial 250 to 300 miles of range, but Toyota knows this range is very sufficient for users.
The model Y currently has a 326-mile range, but this is without the 4680 battery cell. The two crossovers currently have a similar battery range. Still, without knowing what the Toyota battery can do compared to the Tesla 4680, it is tough to say who is the clear winner here.
Where Tesla does shine is in the performance realm. The 0 to 60 in the Model Y is lightning fast at 3.5 seconds. Toyota has no information out on that I can find, so if any of you readers do get some info, I would appreciate the tip.
My educated guess here is that Toyota will be conservative and keep the 0-60 around 5 seconds. Just enough to give you a zing but not enough to race your friend in his/her Model Y.
Technology And Features
It is easy to say that Tesla has the most striking features, technology, and trimmings. That is simply because Tesla has been around far longer. Most of us know Tesla and all the cool tech it comes loaded with.
If the BZ4X is going to compete on that same level, Toyota has to go big or go home. The Tesla screen and software that give the car that fine-trimmed feel are revolutionary.
The BZ4X shows hints of a large center console, an eloquent driver display, and loads of buttons. It looks a bit cluttered than a Tesla. Still, most consumers who have never driven one are more familiar with controls than learning a new software system.
Tesla has undoubtedly set the standard for other carmakers to follow, and Toyota has certainly taken the hint. The question here is whether they will follow Telsa or try another "Entune" failure. I hope they have learned from how terrible Entune was and dumped it. It was serious trash.
BZ4X shows signs of a future that Toyota can be proud of; I hope that they see the vision and keep it that way.
Base model pricing for both Model Y and BZ4X are sitting right around 40k. We know that the Telsa Long Range Dual Motor Performance model is significantly higher than that at about 53k.
Toyota seems to be on par with Tesla in the price range. Even with the more expensive package for the BZ4X, it goes up to around 47k, which is very reasonable.
The winner here is who can provide the most incentives and rebates at the time of sale, so this really is TBD. My gut tells me that both will have similar offerings.
Tesla has set a high standard of fresh, clean styling that has attracted customers since day 1. Toyota typically gets criticized for bland styling. They have in recent years given a far more significant effort in showing they can build a stylish and reliable vehicle. The BZ4X certainly, in my eyes, is bold and different, very against the grain of their traditional roots.
I think the BZ4X is a great way to turn over a new "Leaf" (lol and EV pun, really?), but in all honesty, Toyota should look at this as a great opportunity.
I can guarantee that Toyota, over the past 20 years, has heavily researched battery technology. They are now coming out with an EV after careful consideration and strategy. They know an EV lineup is necessary to compete in the worldwide vehicle market.
Toyota claims a solid-state battery will be part of their EV lineup as early as 2025, but time will tell. I am very excited for the BZ4X to become real. I plan on showing my Toyota Fan Boy colors when it does become available.
I want to own a Tesla, but the curiosity of the BZ4X has me locked into purchasing one as soon as I can.
What are your thoughts on the BZ4X? Do you like it? Hate it? Drop a comment, and we can discuss. That is all for today. Remember Today's Adventure is Tomorrow's Story.
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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporter.