Leaving aside the particular Wuling HongGuang MINI EV, the most successful electric cars on the Chinese market are the Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y, with a wide margin of advantage, too. To begin to reduce these differences, what is today the largest manufacturer in the world has just started the production of a model designed to compete with the most affordable of Elon Musk’s firm in the most profitable market. and bulky in the world. The Toyota bZ3 has started its series production.
It is a 4.72-meter sedan for the development of which the Japanese brand has had to work together with BYD and FAW, a collaboration that, although it is forced by Chinese regulations (foreign manufacturers have to collaborate with local manufacturers if they want to sell in your country), Toyota has been able to make the right profit by using the resources of each of these companies to perfection: while the company resulting from the collaboration between FAW and Toyota will be in charge of mass production, BYD will be the one put battery technology, which may be the most critical aspect for Toyota as it barely has the experience and proven technology in 100% electric cars.
The factory in which the electric bZ3 will be produced is FAW-Toyota New Energy, located in the Chinese city of Tianjin. Under construction since June 2022, and although it has been affected by the multiple stoppages caused by the health crisis, its construction was completed last year, and it managed to start operating last October. By the time it reaches cruising production rates, it will be capable of manufacturing 200,000 electric cars for each year of activity.
There will be two versions under which the Toyota bZ3 is marketed in the Chinese market. They will be called bZ3 150 and bZ3 300 S and will be distinguished from each other both by the power of their electric motor and by the capacity of their battery, with a logical difference also in terms of range.
The bZ3 150 will use a 50 kWh capacity battery to feed a 183 hp (135 kW) electric motor. With this, it will be able to offer up to 517 kilometers of range with a full charge of its battery, which, let’s remember, is manufactured by BYD. The most capable version increases the size of this up to 69 kWh, as well as the power up to 245 CV (180 kW), proposing in exchange 616 kilometers of range.
These figures, however, are achieved under the unrealistic and ancient CLTC approval cycle, so real ranges of between 100 and 150 kilometers less can be expected. In any case, remember that the bZ3 is a model designed by and for China, so its arrival in Europe will not occur under any circumstances.
As usual in China, the Toyota bZ3 will be offered at a competitive price, moving away from what an electric car of similar size and performance would cost in Spain. The most restrained version in technical terms of the two mentioned will start at a price of about 25,700 euros at the current exchange rate (189,800 yuan), while the most capable will do the same at about 30,000 euros (218,800 yuan).