Can the 2023 Toyota bZ3 become ‘the Corolla’ of EVs?
Newest in the Japanese automaker’s line of full EV models, the bZ3 looks to unseat rivals such as the Tesla Model 3 as the go-to everyday mid-size electric sedan, a spot that was synonymous with the Corolla in its heyday.
Can history repeat itself?
The bZ3 and its previously revealed fully electric sibling, the bZ4X, are anomalies in the larger Toyota automotive universe as the company has been vocally conservative about EVs in general, suggesting that the future landscape will rely on a variety of technologies following the depletion or collective governmental barring of combustion-powered vehicles.
Apart from the bZ line, which is set to expand to a line-up of 6 models by the end of the decade, Toyota is still fully onboard with hybrids while also keeping busy with hydrogen fuel cell technology like we’ve seen in the Mirai.
Based on the e-TNGA platform, the bZ3 also integrates batteries supplied by BYD. At 4,725mm long, 1,835mm wide, and 1,475mm tall, the car occupies a similar footprint to the Model 3 as well, and its chinese-sourced components are meant to give it a technological and emotional link to the market where Toyota plans to focus their sales effort most: China.
The onboard lithium ion phosphate (LFP) battery has been developed for greater energy storage density and capacity retention, claiming to hold 90% of its charge even after a 10-year ownership period.
Toyota has not revealed the exact kilowatt-hour (kWh) count just yet, but says the bZ3 is capable of 600km on a single charge, no doubt thanks to its slippery exterior with a drag coefficient of just 0.218Cd, which just edges past the recently revealed IONIQ 6 from Hyundai.
Sadly there are no power figures to dissect either, but we should expect around 200PS from a front-mounted electric motor since that’s what has been slotted into the bZ4X. Beefier units and all-wheel drive should be on the cards too, just further along its model life cycle.
With all Chinese EV brands preparing to spread their influence all over the world, Malaysia included, it’d be nice to see one coming from a company as familiar and trustworthy as Toyota. Sadly, at least for now, the bZ3 is destined solely for showrooms in China.