Toyota previews two new electric cars in China

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Toyota has revealed a rakish sports crossover and functional family SUV at the Shanghai motor show, and they are two of the 10 Toyota EVs due in China by 2026.

Toyota has taken to the Shanghai motor show to show off its next two bZ electric cars in concept form.

The bZ Sport Crossover and bZ Flexspace are close previews of the Japanese giant’s next production cars – due on sale in China next year but as yet not confirmed for other markets.

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The duo arrive as a wave of 10 electric cars that Toyota plans to sell in China by 2026.

The most distinctive of the pair is the luridly coloured bZ Sports Crossover – a sleek, high-riding four-door coupé that looks set to evolve into a performance-oriented sibling to the upcoming bZ3X, which is not confirmed for Australia but will be going into right-hand drive production.

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Toyota has given no details of what lies underneath the “active and distinctive” bodyshell, but it’s highly likely to use the same e-TNGA architecture as the Toyota bZ4X, given that it’s being developed in partnership with Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC), which builds the bZ4X for the Chinese market.

Elsewhere, Toyota has borrowed battery technology from another Chinese manufacturer, BYD, for its new bZ3 saloon, but it has yet to detail any other future cars that will arise from this tie-up.

Inside, the bZ Sports Crossover concept looks relatively ready for production, with a curved central infotainment display and large digital instrument cluster, while the unusually shaped steering wheel suggests the production car will get Toyota’s new steer-by-wire technology, controlled via a yoke-style device.

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Toyota says it has been designed “with functions to provide a personal space for the younger customers” and that it will be kept fresh via over-the-air software updates after purchase.

Meanwhile, the bZ Flexspace concept looks to preview a new mid-size SUV to sit above the bZ4X. It’s a large and upright, focused on families and touting a “reliable cruising range”.

Details are similarly thin on the ground, but it wears Toyota’s new “hammerhead” front end and hosts a similar cockpit to the latest bZ production cars – complete with unconventional steering wheel.

Toyota says the priority of the Flexspace is to provide a “cosy home” environment that’s easy to live with every day, although it hasn’t confirmed whether there’s room for a third row of seats at the back.

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