Toyota’s electric car push will continue with the production version of the bZ3 sedan due to hit international markets later this year.
But the chances of it coming to Australia remain slim, as the bZ3 is built in conjunction with FAW for its home market of China.
Leaked by Car News China, the report is also claiming the battery tech in the bZ3 is borrowed from BYD, specifically the Blade LFP system that could make its way to European versions of the Tesla Model Y in the near future.
Two versions of the bZ3 will be available – both with rear-wheel-drive single-motor set-ups, with the base tuned to 136kW while the top-spec version has 182kW at its disposal.
While Toyota has not revealed the range for the bZ3, the BYD Blade battery system enables more than 600 kilometres of driving range on a single charge.
Based on the bZ SDN concept revealed late last year, the road-going bZ3 carries over much of the same aesthetic as the show car, including slender headlights, a chiselled bonnet and flush-fitting door handles.
Sharing the bZ4X’s e-TNGA platform, the bZ3 sedan measures 4725mm long, 1835mm wide, 1475mm tall and has a 2880mm wheelbase.
This makes the bZ3 a little smaller than the bZ4X mid-size SUV, and sizes it up neatly in between the Corolla small sedan and Camry mid-sizer.
Lining up next to the Tesla Model 3, the Toyota bZ3 is slightly longer and taller, but is also narrower.
While the bZ3 sedan might not be destined for Australian showrooms, the bZ4X certainly is, and has a launch date earmarked for 2023.
Toyota Australia is yet to confirm any specification for the bZ4X, but overseas models are fitted with a 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery that offers up a driving range of up to 460 kilometres.
There is a front-drive 150kW single-motor variant, as well as an all-wheel-drive dual-motor version that services up a combined output of 160kW, giving Toyota’s first battery electric vehicle enough shove to rival the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5.
In terms of equipment, expect to see 18-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 12.3-inch multimedia system, heated seats, and – of course – a bevy of advanced safety gear such as autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and driver attention alert.
The global launch of the bZ4X has not gone swimmingly though, with the Toyota electric car and its Subaru Solterra twin being recalled in the USA for a fault that could see the wheels fall off while driving.
The issue also affects vehicles in Europe, Canada and Japan, with Toyota USA going so far as to offering a buyback of the bZ4X to unhappy customers.
It remains to be seen if any of these issues will affect the Australian introduction of the bZ4X, which will arrive to steal the thunder away from the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Tesla Model Y and other battery electric mid-size SUVs.
Keyword: Toyota's next electric car surfaces