News Environment Toyota's New bZ4X EV Features a Roof Solar Panel to Generate Electricity The bZ4X is based on a new EV-dedicated platform that was developed with Subaru. By Marc Carter Marc Carter Twitter Writer University of California, Santa Barbara Marc Carter is an EV writer and editor based in Los Angeles. He is the founder of The Torque Report; his work has also appeared on Discovery Channel, iMotorTimes, Inhabitat, and more. Learn about our editorial process Published November 2, 2021 12:00PM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process Toyota gave the world a preview of the bZ4X earlier this year and now itâs released more details about the production version. Toyota Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive It’s been seven years since Toyota has offered a fully electric vehicle (EV) in the United States and given the automaker’s heavy investments in hybrid vehicles, we’ve been waiting for a new Toyota EV. Next year EV buyers will have a new option: the Toyota bZ4X. Unlike the RAV4 EV that was part Tesla, the new EV is a homegrown electric vehicle that Toyota and Subaru partnered on. Toyota gave the world a preview of the bZ4X earlier this year and now it’s released more details about the production version. The bZ4X is based on a new EV-dedicated platform that was developed with Subaru. On the outside, the bZ4X is nearly identical to the concept with its aggressive styling and futuristic design details. The bZ4X is about the same size as the current RAV4, which means that crossover buyers will have two plug-in Toyota crossovers, the RAV4 Prime and the bZ4X. The bZ4X will be offered in two versions. The standard model has a front-wheel drive with a single electric motor that generates 201 horsepower. The all-wheel-drive version gets a second electric motor for the rear axle that gives it a total of 215 hp. The FWD version can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 8.4 seconds, while the AWD version can reach that speed in 7.7 seconds. No matter which version you choose, the bZ4X comes standard with a 71.4-kilowatt-hour battery. That gives it a driving range up to 310 miles on the WLTP cycle, but here in the U.S., we can expect the EPA to give it a lower range estimate. This means that the bZ4X is not going to be able to travel as far as the Ford Mustang Mach-E or Tesla Model Y on a single charge, since both of them have versions with an EPA range over 300 miles. The bZ4X’s battery can be charged up to 80% in only 30 minutes using a 150-kilowatt fast charger. Toyota also says that the battery has been engineered to retain 90% of its usable capacity after a decade, which means that the driving range shouldn’t decrease as the bZ4X ages. Inside the big news is the unique yoke that replaces the traditional steering wheel, which is similar to what you’ll find in the updated Tesla Model S. The yoke may take a bit to get used to, but it will launch in China first. Toyota has not announced if the yoke-style wheel will be offered in the U.S. The yoke is connected to a new steer-by-wire system that means there is no mechanical connection between the tires and yoke. The automaker has also shown photos of the bZ4X’s interior with a normal steering wheel, so we’ll have to wait and see which markets get the yoke. The interior gets a new infotainment system that’s accessed via a large touchscreen, which will get over-the-air updates to keep it up to date. A roof solar panel is also going to be optional in some markets. Toyota says the roof solar panel can generate the electricity equivalent of around 1,100 miles of driving distance per year. Production of the bZ4X is slated to begin in the middle of 2022, which means that it will likely arrive later next summer as a 2023 model. The bZ4X is just one of the seven electric vehicles that Toyota is planning for its new bZ (Beyond Zero) sub-brand. Subaru is also working on a version of the bZ4X, which will be called the Solterra. We’ll get more details about the US-spec bZ4X when it is unveiled in November.