Toyota will launch an affordable EV internationally before the end of the year, with reports pointing to the incoming bZ3 being a more affordable alternative to the Tesla Model 3.
To be launched in China by the end of the year – but with a potential global launch to follow – the bZ3 will be the second vehicle in Toyota’s all-EV bZ family, following the launch, and then launch suspension, of the bZ4X.
This one, though, promises to be an affable EV solution, with Toyota borrowing tech from Chinese EV giant BYD to bring the vehicle to life.
Rather than use a Toyota-own solution, the bZ3 will reportedly use BYD’s “Blade” batteries, which the Chinese brand says are both more space efficient and safer in case of an impact than traditional lithium-ion batteries.
The brand developed the technology with the view to letting other manufacturers use Blade batteries, with Tesla and now reportedly Toyota snapping up the solution.
“Today, many vehicle brands are in discussion with us about partnerships based on the technology of the Blade Battery,” said BYD Vice President, He Long.
According to Reuters, the new model will be roughly the size of Toyota Corolla, only with more rear passenger and cargo room – and will be built at the same Chinese factory that produced the bZ4X, and at an initial run rate of around 30,000 per year.
Even more exciting, though, is the price. Sources have told the new publication that the bZ3 is expected to be around 30 per cent cheaper than a Tesla Model 3, with a starting price in the vicinity of US$28,000 (AUD $43,000).
In Australia, the Tesla Model 3 starts at $65,500, which – using that same 30 per cent target – could see the bZ3 starting at an impressive $45,850, should the model come to Australia.
That would put it on-par with the most affordable EVs in the country, with the MG ZS EV starting at $44,990 drive-away, and the $44,381 (MSRP) BYD Atto3.
We’re some way off getting any kind of deep specification details, but two versions of the bZ3 will be reportedly available – both with rear-wheel-drive single-motor set-ups, with the base tuned to 136kW while the top-spec version has 182kW.
Reports also suggest the model will share the bZ4X’s e-TNGA platform, and will measure 4725mm long, 1835mm wide, 1475mm tall and offer a 2880mm wheelbase.
And given it is BYD tech, we can even make some range guesses. The Chinese brand says Blade batteries will deliver its vehicles more than 600km in driving ranch before having to plug in, which is an impressive number.
The model will form part of Toyota’s much-hyped EV push, with an extensive plan to reshape its model range to include 16 new BEV models, including a handful of SUVs, cars and even a ute. That line-up will expand to 30 global EV models by 2030.
But when will that electric wave wash over Australia? For that you’ll have to wait and see.
Keyword: Australia's cheapest electric car could be a.... Toyota? Bargain-basement bZ3 electric vehicle to be a cut-price alternative to the Tesla Model 3!