As is often the case with all new batch cars manufactured in China, the Toyota bZ3 has been leaked before its official presentation through the database of the Ministry of Industry of the Asian country. The lines of this long-awaited electric sedan were advanced at the end of last year by the bZ SDN prototype, which maintains most of the features.
The Toyota bZ3 will be a compact saloon (C-segment) equivalent to the Corolla Sedan, one of the best-selling cars on the planet. It will measure 4,725 millimeters long, 1,835 millimeters wide, and 1,475 millimeters high, with a wheelbase of 2,880 millimeters. Therefore, it will be straddling the Corolla Sedan itself (4,630 millimeters long) and the D-segment Camry (4,885 millimeters), surpassing the battle of both (2,700 millimeters for the Corolla, 2,820 millimeters for the Camry).
From an aesthetic point of view, the bZ3 continues the design language already seen in the bZ4X. Thus, it maintains both the hammerhead-shaped light clusters and the pilots attached to the width of the trunk. The black-painted pillars and roof give it a distinctly modern look, which is also helped by the recessed door handles. Their tires are between 16 and 18 inches in diameter.
As it falls within the bZ (“beyond Zero”) family, the bZ3 is expected to make use of the e-TNGA modular platform. However, its batteries will be the popular Blade made by the Chinese giant BYD; therefore, you will use cells with affordable and durable LFP (lithium iron phosphate) chemistry and a free pack of modules.
The Toyota bZ3 will rival the Tesla Model 3
The Japanese sedan will be rear-wheel drive, as it will mount a single engine on the rear axle available with two power levels: 184 hp (135 kW) and 245 hp (180 kW). The top speed of the vehicle will be 160 km/h. According to the leaked specifications, the 184 hp model will have a curb weight of 1,710 kg, while the 245 hp will go to 1,835 kg.
Although there is still no official confirmation, it is almost certain that this sedan will reach the United States and Europe, since the bZ sub-range has a global orientation. However, it will not be manufactured in the old continent but will be imported from China, where it will be produced jointly with FAW. What would this decision respond to?
Initially, Toyota’s European plants (Czech Republic, France, United Kingdom, Russia, Turkey) will not receive the e-TNGA platform, but will instead assemble models based on the E3 multi-energy platform, an architecture that will combine modules from the GA-C and the e-TNGA itself. Therefore, no member of the bZ family will be made in Europe.
Among the rivals of the Toyota bZ3, the Hyundai IONIQ 6, Tesla Model 3, and Volkswagen ID will stand out. AERO, to which the BYD Seal could be added next year, is equipped with the same Blade batteries. Most likely, the Toyota is the most affordable of all, as it should cost considerably less than the bZ4X, which is around 50,000 euros.
If the latter’s drive train is maintained, we can expect the sedan to be extremely efficient, which will allow it to achieve competitive autonomy without the need to resort to a high-capacity pack (the bZ4X homologates 511 km WLTP with 71.4 kWh, an outstanding figure if we take into account that SUV bodies are not precisely characterized by their aerodynamics).
Like all other Toyota electric cars, the bZ3’s batteries are likely to be guaranteed at 70% of their original capacity for 10 years or a million kilometers (BYD estimates that Blade batteries have a lifespan of approximately 1.2 million kilometers in eight years of use); not in vain, one of the main claims of the Japanese firm is the reliability of its products.