Toyota bZ3 electric sedan revealed in China

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Toyota bZ3 sedan has been revealed in China as a rival to the Tesla Model 3 with 600km range.

Toyota has revealed the bZ3 as its second bespoke battery-electric car, which will be powered by advanced batteries supplied by Chinese EV giant BYD.

Set to go on sale next year, the five-seat Toyota bZ3 will be built and sold exclusively in China. It will follow the Toyota bZ4X SUV, which was launched globally earlier this year.

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A third model for the bZ series has also been confirmed to be in development, previewed in a low-lit image revealing the roofline of a sleek compact crossover. More details are set to be revealed later this year.

Based on Toyota’s e-TNGA platform, the bZ3 is said to have “responsive performance, with a low centre of gravity and excellent handling stability”.

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It measures 4725mm long, 1835mm wide and 1475mm high, meaning it’s similar in size to the Tesla Model 3.

Toyota says the bZ3 provides an ultra-low drag coefficient value of 0.218Cd, with air guides and air curtains found across the sedan’s exterior.

It also benefits from flat door handles, a wind-resistent rear bumper and aluminium wheels, which make it one of the most aerodynamic cars in its class – more so than the Model 3, which has a value of 0.23Cd.

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Under the skin sits a bespoke lithium-ion lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery, built by BYD, which has been developed to retain 90 per cent of its charge capacity after a 10-year period.

While Toyota hasn’t revealed specific powertrain details such as performance and charging rates, it claims the bZ3 has a range of around 600km.

The interior of the car has been designed with Toyota’s “family lounge” concept in mind, where cars are seen more as a family space than just transportation.

A “digital island” is the central feature of the cabin, which makes use of a large, portrait-orientated central infotainment display and what Toyota has called a “tray-type console” with smartphone integration and wireless charging.

The display is used to adjust the air conditioning, music, electronic boot release and complete voice control functions.

Around 100 engineers worked on the engineering, design and production of the bZ3, with teams from Toyota, BYD and FAW Toyota, a joint venture between the Japanese firm and China’s First Automobile Works.

“The Toyota bZ3 is born out of the three companies’ collaboration and synergy in development, car-manufacturing and battery technology. The combined strengths of each member have resulted in unprecedented new value and new experiences for customers,” Toyota said.

It’s not likely that we will see the bz3 on Australian shores any time soon.

Jack Warrick

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