Toyota's New Concept Car Shows off What's To Come for Its Electric SUVs

Toyota today unrelieved a concept sport utility vehicle (SUV) that showcases the future of the brand's all-electric portfolio. The Toyota bZ Compact SUV Concept, which is the size of the Corolla Cross, premiered ahead of the LA Auto Show.

"We've only just begun to scratch the surface of the Beyond Zero moniker," said Toyota group vice president and general manager David Christ. "With an aerodynamic design coupled with intuitive tech features never before seen in a Toyota model, the bZ Concept showcases another possible vision of the very near future with our battery electric vehicles."

Toyota's battery-electric concept car was designed to showcase "eco-friendly, sustainable materials" as well as "dynamic performance, leading technology, and a stylish appearance".

The company's "BZ" moniker stands for "beyond zero", a signal toward the zero emissions future of the Japanese company.

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AutoPacific's president and chief analyst Ed Kim believes that a production version of the concept would be appealing to multiple types of buyers, for numerous reasons.

"Assuming the production model is priced lower than the BZ4X, it helps Toyota expand its electric vehicle (EV) reach to more consumers - in this case a presumably younger and less affluent shopper. This segment will become increasingly important as lower priced EV models will be critical to growing the EV customer base, and other brands will soon introduce their own modestly priced EVs like the $30,000 Chevrolet Equinox EV or the $25,000 Fisker Pear."

Toyota is often criticized for being behind when it comes to electric vehicles offered for sale compared to chief competitors Hyundai, Kia, and Ford. Hyundai currently sells the Kona EV and Ioniq 5 in the U.S. while Kia offers the Niro EV and EV6. Ford has the F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E on the market. Hyundai and Kia will add new EVs for same by early 2023.

"AutoPacific's data from its Future Attribute Demand Study (FADS) show that while Toyota only offers one EV model (that hasn't even really launched yet due to bZ4X's recall), Toyota is among the top considered brands among EV intenders, reflecting the brand equity they have built up among greener customers due to their leadership in hybrids," Kim said.

"Appealing and competitive EV entries will help ensure that Toyota has the products to respond to EV intenders' desire for electric Toyotas."