Toyota, the king of gasoline-electric hybrids, has long been skeptical of all-electric vehicles.
Their limited range and spotty charging station networks, along with doubts about profitability, rendered them impractical and nonviable, the company long thought. Toyota once offered a battery-electric RAV4, but only in California and only in volumes to meet state mandates for the sale of zero-emission vehicles.
So the new bZ4X, the first EV Toyota has designed from the ground up, though with a key partner, is a bit of game-changer for the company.
The bZ4X is the product of a joint venture between Toyota and Subaru, which is introducing the similar Solterra EV. The companies split engineering evenly, though the crossovers are built in a Toyota plant in Japan.
The bZ4X — the bZ nomenclature is shorthand for "beyond zero" and will be adopted on future Toyota electric models — is positioned between the RAV4 compact and Venza midsize crossovers in length. But at 112.2 inches, the wheelbase is the same as on the three-row Highlander large crossover.