Toyota’s first electric vehicle is still nearly 12 months away from hitting Australian showrooms.
The 2023 Toyota bZ4x has now been earmarked for an Australian launch during the second half of 2023, the company has confirmed.
After initially being slated for a late 2022 arrival, Toyota’s vice president of sales, marketing and franchise operations Sean Hanley told media this week at the launch of the Corolla Cross that the brand’s first electric vehicle won’t be here for at least another 8-12 months.
The Toyota bZ4X was jointly developed with Subaru and sits on the co-created e-TNGA electric architecture. Luxury arm Lexus has also put its own spin on this platform, in the form of the new RZ.
While the Australian line-up is yet to be detailed, the bZ4X is available overseas with a choice of 150kW single motor and 160kW dual motor drivetrains, both teamed with a 71.4kWh lithium battery pack.
The single-motor version has a claimed driving range of approximately 500 kilometres per charge.
Serving as a halo model for Toyota’s electrified products, the Japanese brand has indicated the bZ4X will carry a premium price tag similar to that of the original Prius back in the early 2000s.
Globally, the brand has run into roadblocks while rolling out its first EV. A crippling wheel hub bolt issue, which could cause the wheels to fall off, sparked a huge recall campaign and halted production for months – Toyota USA even offered to buy cars back – as the company (and its Subaru partner) scrambled to find a solution.
Toyota only just resumed bZ4x production in the past week, after the brand announced it found a solution for the issue.
While Mr Hanley didn’t cite the reason for the delay for Australia, it’s almost certainly due to the hefty backlog accrued during the June to October period the vehicle was recalled and subsequently out of production.
It means the market-leading brand will continue to go without a battery electric vehicle, despite being a leader in electrification through its extensive range of petrol-electric hybrid vehicles.
Last month the top-selling Toyota RAV4, while supply constrained, was comfortably beaten out by the Tesla Model Y according to VFACTS sales data, with 1856 registrations versus the Tesla’s 4359 deliveries.
Mr Hanley reiterated the Japanese giant “is not opposed to battery electric vehicles”, and doesn’t see itself as “lagging behind” the industry in the electrification space.
“We believe right now that the solution is a diversity of products and to empower drivers, so in other words, we’ll have a battery electric vehicle for some customers, some will have hybrid electric vehicles, others fuel-cell electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids,” Mr Hanley said.
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