Toyota’s first mass electric car is not meeting expectations. The manufacturer has decided to update it to improve its range. No one has ever said that beginnings are easy, but there are times when things go awry more than they should. After receiving criticism from the four cardinal points, Toyota has been half forced to apply an electric strategy that it had always avoided. The Japanese had argued that their hybrids are a real solution to a real problem and that they would not make electric cars until they were viable for everyone. However, in an attempt to speed up the process, the bZ (Beyond Zero) range was launched on the market with the Toyota bZ4X as the first unit. And things are not going as expected.
Presented in October 2021, Toyota’s first electric SUV was here to change the landscape. With a strategy of 30 electric launches before the end of the decade, Toyota wanted to bang on the table and discover its enormous potential. Everything depended on the good reception of the bZ4X, but as soon as it started its commercial stage, things went wrong. A design flaw forced the first recall to be made. One of the wheel studs could come off and pose a serious safety risk. Despite the seemingly simple repair, Toyota took a long time to correct the problem and for months rumors began to spread around the world.
After the relaunch, sales gradually fell off. Toyota didn’t seem concerned about it. They acknowledged that they did not expect the bZ4X to be a worldwide success and that they paid attention to other details.
If we take into account the sales records of its rivals, the year 2022 of the bZ4X was a real disaster. In 2023 it was necessary to make a clean slate, but the arrival of the cold once again plunged the electric SUV into problems. Different tests carried out in extreme climates showed that the range of the Japanese electric succumbed quickly when the degrees of the thermometer fell. Toyota announced the opening of an investigation of which we know nothing to date. To this, we must add the criticism received by experts such as Sandy Munro. While the American tester acknowledges some qualities of the Japanese, he also warns of some major flaws that need to be corrected.
Despite this, the markets were discreetly encouraging and the Japanese announced an increase in the rate of production, although without much haste. It is expected that by 2025, the bZ4X will achieve a monthly production of up to 12,000 units worldwide.
Toyota’s response to the ‘new’ bZ4X
Now, as Drive announces on its website, Toyota seems to have heeded the criticism and will update the bZ4X soon. After covering only 65% of its approved range , it is clear that the Japanese have a problem with efficiency in real use. Toyota will improve it’s first global electric and will do so through new software that will begin to expand remotely this summer. The intention is to improve range and charging effectiveness without having to touch the battery or the mechanical assembly.
The new software should correct a problem that has been detected by numerous users. Toyota, like other manufacturers, applies a certain margin of safety to the battery indicator. When the bZ4X’s computer announces no charge, it still has 8% battery left, that’s twice what manufacturers typically apply. It is more than likely that the engineers will modify the code to reduce the safety margin, as well as update and improve other functions that consume excessive energy resources.