If you’ve been driving a Prius for years or holding out for a sleeker electric vehicle, Toyota now has the car for you. The new Toyota bZ BEV Concept was just revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and we love it. A clean and sporty exterior design is combined in the BEV Concept with sustainable interior materials to create an EV that works for everyone.
Toyota BEV concept looks like a tesla
What makes the new bZ BEV Concept EV look so sleek is its aerodynamic shape combined with super streamlined headlight design and a sporty rear hatch. The doors have invisible handles. Meanwhile, the charging hatch blends seamlessly into the body just in front of the driver’s door.
The BEV extends Toyota’s bZ brand umbrella, which stands for “Beyond Zero.” Toyota group vice president and general manager David Christ said at the Los Angeles Auto Show that the aerodynamic design, combined with intuitive tech features, upgrades the Toyota line of EV offerings to showcase another possible vision of the “very near future with our battery electric vehicles.”
We wrote about the bZ4x earlier this year, which is a small car. However, it is not this type of small SUV hatch. As Toyota works toward its goal of making all cars EVs by 2025, you’ll see more variation in the types of EVs available from the automaker. In turn, you’ll see them fill out a complete product line of all types of cars. These cars will compete with other small and daily driver electric vehicles on the market. They’ll compete with Mazda, Honda and Chevrolet, as well as other less expensive brands.
The tech inside the BEV EV concept
The top-of-the-line tech includes an in-car personal agent named Yui that responds to audio cues from the front and rear passengers. Yui also sets off the light and sound features of the vehicle. Additional tech involves intuitive touchscreen controls similar to a Tesla. Following, other electronic controls are all electronically powered. The cockpit control screen is curved almost as if it is melted at the bottom, which is a unique touch we haven’t seen before. This mimics the exterior design that has unique angles in front and rear combined with a sleek curve unusual in a small SUV sporty design like this one.
The nice thing about a concept car that looks as practical as this one is that it lets you know the production car will look similar. This isn’t possible in vehicles that are too far out of reach or design, as it requires meeting certain regulations for bumper height, size of side mirrors and so on for a car to become street legal. This concept looks street ready.
A fully electric drivetrain
Toyota is calling the bZ Compact SUV Concept a “clean-vital design” that expresses a fun-to-drive vehicle with great performance that still is entirely battery electric. The bZ has zero emissions as well. The aerodynamic design is not just cosmetic — it helps the bZ create a lower center of gravity for better cornering and better battery efficiency.
Short overhangs in the front and rear along with a beautifully designed cabin leave nothing to be desired in a fully electric small SUV. We would love to see more cars in this growing segment. This is because a small hatch with slightly better-than-average road performance suits so many people’s needs while keeping the price in a reasonable range as opposed to larger SUVs.
Many vehicles in this segment are either smaller or larger than this option, making this vehicle a unique offering for anyone who likes small SUVs or hatchbacks. While the niche will fill up soon as automakers convert more cars to EVs over the next decade, right now there aren’t many options for this size and style of vehicle.
Compare this with the Prius, which is clearly a smaller car, or larger SUVs like the Zeekr 009. Tesla and BMW EVs are far more expensive by nature due to their size being nearly twice as large for most models. And many electric SUVs are based on legacy vehicles that had gas engines historically. Therefore, the design wouldn’t be as fresh, and interior materials wouldn’t be as sustainable as this brand-new, ground-up design.
Sustainable interior materials
The seating in this concept car is made from recycled and plant-based materials. Toyota says it envisions a future in which carbon neutrality is achieved through the practical marketization of a portfolio of products with advanced alternative fuel and zero-emissions powertrain technologies. This means Toyota is planning to expand its EV line to about 30 dedicated battery-electric vehicles, including five in the bZ line. Doing so will help Toyota reach carbon neutrality by 2050. It will also give drivers many more options for affordable daily driver EVs.
Images via Toyota and Shirah Kinder