Saturday, 4 December 2021
creator of new series
Change of heart at Toyota – the first electric car
The bZ4 is not only Toyota’s first real electric car, but the Japanese wish it should be the “progenitor” of the new series. However, the idea of propulsion with hydrogen and fuel cells has not yet been abandoned. At least that’s what the prototype Lexus ROV suggests.
The Japanese word “kenshiki” means “landscape”, but it also stands for “view”. In this respect, it is only arguable that the European Toyota senior slipped into the tour guide role on its traditional Kenshiki platform and presented few sights with the Cruze over the next eight years. A view of the exhibition standing in the shadow of the Brussels Atomium. Without the kenshiki landscape around it, but always with nature at the back of your mind.
Toyota’s first real electric car
Of course, Toyota also wants to be climate-neutral as well as provide millions of customers around the world with the right means of transportation to defend its position as world sales champion against Volkswagen. Since 1997, hybrid models have been the leader. Like the pioneering Prius, which can’t drive entirely electrically, but is fairly economical in everyday life, thanks to sophisticated technology albeit with only a smaller battery. After much hesitation, there is now an actual electric car, a type of SUV with the cryptic acronym “bZ”, which means “beyond zero”. “One of the most important cars we’ve ever built,” Andrea Carlucci says of the bZ4, Which already celebrated its Trade Fair premiere at the Los Angeles Auto Show. And why so long? The vice president of Toyota Europe stands next to the production version and explains: “For us it was never a question of whether we would develop a fully battery-powered vehicle, only a question of when.”
Toyota now thinks the time has come for its first strider and sees the bZ4 as the progenitor of several other series. Of course, he also speaks typical Toyota design language. Unconventionally designed wheelhouse, a clad front with no recognizable bumpers and a rear that rises slightly from the side. Unlike the prototype shown in early summer, the production model features a classic steering wheel rather than an open-top design. The data is similar to that of its European rivals. Electric motor with 204 PS, 265 Nm max torque, 71.4 kWh battery, 450 kms range.
The 4.70-metre-long five-door can also dock on a 150 kW quick charger and supply 80 percent of the battery in 30 minutes. The offer also includes an all-wheel drive version called the bZ4X, which has an electric motor on the front and rear axles. Total output is then 218 hp, a good 410 kilometers. Toyota guarantees that the battery will still have at least 70 percent capacity after ten years or one million kilometers.
Exciting prototype from Lexus
The Lexus ROV is just an exciting prototype, as its realization is still uncertain. A mix between a buggy and a quad, long-legged, with no side windows and a plastic roof. The small 3.12m two-seater with roll bar is just for fun off the beaten track. Its special feature is that it also drives without any emissions, but without a drive battery. The one-liter engine runs on hydrogen, but it does not run without exhaust gases. Small amounts of engine oil burn out during operation, but they can be neglected, according to Lexus.
A technology that could end up in motorsport as well. In Brussels, Toyota is showing off a Yaris that also uses hydrogen to perform its test laps. It uses an internal combustion engine known from the Yaris GR. Its 1.6-liter three-cylinder outputs 261 hp. Data for the hydrogen model have not yet been determined. The underlying idea: If the technology proves itself on the racetrack, the use of hydrogen could also be a solution, at least for some current series models. After the termination of the classic gasoline engine, they could continue to be operated with only a few modifications.
Toyota Corolla Cross Plug-in
The term classic also fits the two innovations presented in Brussels. The Toyota Corolla Cross Plug-in, based on the sedan of the same name, is 4.46 meters longer and thus 14 cm shorter than the RAV4. The 1.8-liter four-cylinder petrol engine works in tandem with the electric motor, both producing 122 hp. All-wheel drive is not provided. But it is offered by another plug-in model from the Toyota family.
The Lexus NX 450h+ is an upper mid-range SUV and measures 4.66 meters. Drive is shared by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder and two electric motors. All three have at least 309 hp. Electric range should be around 70 kms. Prices have yet to be determined, with sales in Germany scheduled to begin in 2022.
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