Toyota has been a leader in hybrid technology since 1993, when they first launched their G12 project; this led to the introduction of the Toyota Prius hybrid in 1997. It became the best selling “green” vehicle in the world, reaching the million vehicle milestone mark in May 2008. As of 2017, the Prius was the world’s top selling hybrid with more than 4 million units worldwide. The RAV4 crossover passed the Prius as Toyota’s best selling hybrid in 2019. As of last year, Toyota has sold more than 15 million hybrids.
That is a lot of green street cred, Toyota has customer loyalty to move their buyers into a full Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV). The big surprise is how deliberate and cautious the company has been getting here. The new Toyota bZ line represents the company barreling full bore into EVs. “bZ” stands for “beyond Zero,” Toyota’s move towards zero carbon emissions.
What we know is the dual motor, all-wheel-drive electric SUV will be jointly produced with Subaru, and worldwide sales begin mid-2022. Other than that, details about range, horsepower and pricing are not yet released. Toyota is a market savvy company, and this has been a long time coming. I expect the basic specs, from range to pricing, to be highly competitive.
I have been watching the EV space for a while, this is a very big deal. The Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Volkswagen ID.4, and now Toyota 4x makes clear the incumbent ICE manufacturers are deadly serious about the EV space.