Off to a great start

Off to a great start

Demand surpasses expectations as Toyota closes pre-sales on new bZ4X EV

Just 24 hours after Toyota Motor Thailand started accepting pre-bookings for its new bZ4X electric SUV, it had to close the reservations due to the large number of customers showing interest.

According to the Japanese automaker, 1,064 pre-orders were placed online for the bZ4X within the first hour, starting at 8pm on Nov 9, with the number surging to 3,356 by 8pm the next day. Toyota said this was much higher than it had anticipated and decided to cease taking pre-orders for the time being.

The Toyota bZ4X retails at 1.863 million baht, after deducting a 150,000 baht government subsidy for EVs with battery sizes of over 30kWh.

It comes with a 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery powering two, 109hp electric motors (one at the front and one at rear) delivering a combined output of 218hp, with maximum torque claimed at 337Nm.

While the bZ4X accelerates swiftly, completing the 0-100kph dash in 6.9sec, the top speed is limited at 160kph.

Meanwhile, the driving range per charge is 411km (WLTP). Charging time is 9.5 hours for full charge with a 230V/32A supply and 30 minutes for an 80% charge via a 150kW DC fast-charging system.

Toyota says that the battery's quality and durability is enhanced via multiple monitoring of the voltage, current and temperature at individual cell level. If any abnormal heat generation is detected, controls are automatically triggered.

"Countermeasures have been put in place to mitigate any material degradation, and there are safeguards in the manufacturing process to prevent foreign matter from entering the battery," Toyota stated in its press release.

This is the first battery in a Toyota vehicle to adopt a water-cooling system -- it uses a refrigerant that helps maintain stable output, with each cell individually cooled.

Being an SUV-type vehicle, the bZ4X also has some off-roading capability. Toyota states that the approach and departure angles are 17.4 and 25.6 degrees respectively, and although the ground clearance is just 177mm, it has a wading depth of up to 500mm.

The X-Mode all-wheel-drive system, co-developed with Subaru, offers several settings including a grip control function that helps regulate the vehicle speed during tough off-road situations.

McPherson struts in front and double wishbones at the rear support the suspension, while brakes are vented discs all-round.

The bZ4X uses a new eAxle design that integrates the transaxle, motor and inverter in a single unit. The light and compact design helps achieve shorter overhangs and a low centre of gravity for the vehicle and more cabin and load space.

The bZ4X is the first car to be built on the Toyota's new BEV architecture, based on eTNGA philosophy and designed, optimised and dedicated to electric vehicles. This completely new architecture has the flexibility to be used for potential future bZ models and is designed for production at scale.

The platform's core qualities combine to give bZ4X stable and responsive dynamic performance. Its design allows the car to have a long wheelbase, at 2,850mm. The result is excellent interior space -- both in the cabin and the 452-litre luggage compartment.

It's also pretty aerodynamic, with a Cd value of just 0.279. Using a BEV-specific platform, the bZ4X combines the long wheelbase with a short overhang; this results both in a distinctive design and in an interior space comparable to a D-segment sedan. The low position of the digital instrument panel serves not only to enhance the vehicle's sense of space, but also improve visibility and contribute to safe and secure driving, according to Toyota.

In terms of exterior design, the front appearance is characterised by a new "hammerhead" shape with slim LED headlight units.

The side silhouette is sleek with a low overall height, slender front pillars and a low axis line that reflects the low centre of gravity achieved with the new platform and its low-set, integrated battery unit. Wheel arch mouldings, large 20in wheels pushed out to the corners of the body and thick rocker panels express the car's authentic SUV character.

At the rear, the design focus is again on emphasising the corners, with a distinctive taillight bridging the width of the vehicle.

The bZ4X comes with the latest Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 along with Intelligent Parking Assist featuring four cameras and 12 sensors.

The interior gets a large number of soft touch areas (some of which are recycled materials) plus a large panoramic glass roof. There is a 12.3-inch touchscreen centre display, JBL sound system, wireless charging pad, five USB ports and 12 cupholders located around the cabin along with ventilated front seats.


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