Toyota, the top-selling automaker in the United States, is introducing its first all-electric vehicle in eight years. The company unveiled Toyota bZ4X small SUV, which starts at $42,000 and can travel up to 252 miles (406 kilometers) on a single charge. The bZ4X, which will be sold globally, joins the 38 electric vehicle models currently on the market in the United States, with more than 120 expected by 2025.
While it lacks ground-breaking range and performance for an electric vehicle, the bZ4X is an important entry because it comes from a trusted brand, which will persuade some buyers to switch from internal combustion engines, according to Stephanie Brinley, principal analyst for S&P Global Mobility.
“You’ve got buyers who are interested but may not be willing to try a new brand or leave (Toyota) to go to Chevrolet or Ford,” Brinley said. “As we transition to a more electric-dominated market, the answer is really convincing normally ICE (internal combustion engine) owners to try something new.”
The bZ4X resembles and is slightly longer, lower, and wider than Toyota’s RAV4, the best-selling non-pickup truck in the United States. It is Toyota‘s first EV since 2014, when an electric version of the RAV4 was sold.
When compared to internal combustion engine vehicles, it is fast, as are most electric vehicles. Toyota claims that the all-wheel-drive version can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour) in as little as 6.5 seconds.
Toyota stated that sales will begin in states with zero-emissions vehicle mandates, then spread to the rest of the United States. The bZ4X will be on display at the New York International Auto Show, which begins with press days this week. The exhibition is open to the public from April 15 to April 24. Toyota says it plans to sell 15 electric vehicles by 2025, seven of which will be sold under the bZ brand, which stands for ‘Beyond Zero.’
When the bZ4X arrives in US showrooms in May, owners will most likely have to act quickly to take advantage of the USD 7,500 federal tax credit that will make it more affordable. The automaker anticipates reaching a 200,000-vehicle cap on the credits by the end of June.
When it reaches the cap, the credits will be phased out over the next year, eventually reaching zero, as Tesla and General Motors have. Toyota largely met the cap by selling plug-in gas-electric hybrid vehicles like the RAV4 Prime, which can travel 42 miles on electricity before switching to a hybrid system with an internal combustion engine.
Last year, automakers sold nearly 4.6 million electric vehicles worldwide. According to LMC Automotive, an industry consulting firm, that figure will rise to nearly 7 million this year and more than 15 million by 2025. Even so, that will only account for about 15% of global vehicle sales.