The second car in Toyota’s Beyond Zero electric vehicle range has leaked, ahead of its Chinese launch later this year – but it may not come to Australia.
The 2023 Toyota BZ3 sedan – the electric equivalent of the top-selling Toyota Corolla – has emerged in photos out of China, but an Australian launch is yet to be confirmed.
Images published by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology show the production BZ3 sedan – the second member of Toyota’s BZ electric car range, with dimensions similar to a Toyota Corolla sedan.
The BZ3 is the production version of the Toyota BZ SDN concept revealed last year, with differences between concept and production cars minimal – and limited to wheel designs, light signatures, and the patterns on plastic trim pieces.
The front and rear appearance – with full-width LED light signatures – are reminiscent of the larger BZ4X SUV, while buyers can choose between 16-inch and 18-inch wheels.
The Chinese government images don’t show the new electric car’s interior, however spy photos (below, via Cochespias) point to a large portrait centre touchscreen, a digital instrument display placed far ahead of the driver, and a steering wheel akin to the BZ4X.
Tan leather-look seats will be available in some models, while there’s a space-saving rotary dial-style gear selector mounted on the centre console.
Powering the new BZ3 are ‘Blade’ lithium iron phosphate batteries from Chinese electric-car giant BYD – selected for their slim profile, about half as thick as a traditional lithium-ion battery, boosting passenger space.
While the battery’s capacity is unknown, it will be paired with a single electric motor in two states of tune: 135kW (with the 16-inch wheels only), and 179kW (with the 18-inch wheels). Both quote 160km/h top speeds.
Both are expected to be underpinned by the Toyota group’s e-TNGA architecture – but unlike the front- and all-wheel-drive BZ4X, the BZ3 is said to be rear-wheel drive.
The BZ3 measures 4725mm long, 1835mm wide and 1475mm high, on a 2880mm wheelbase – 95mm longer overall, 65mm wider and 40mm taller than an Australian-market Corolla sedan, but riding on a 180mm-longer wheelbase (with shorter front and rear body overhangs).
The 2023 Toyota BZ3 is rumoured to be revealed at the Guangzhou motor show in November, ahead of a launch in that market likely by the end of this year.
Prices in China may open as low as 200,000 yuan ($AU42,650) – about 30 per cent less than an entry-level, rear-wheel-drive Tesla Model 3, which starts from ¥290,988 ($AU62,000) before incentives (or $65,500 plus on-road costs for the same car in Australia).
However, it’s unclear if the car will come to Australia, as reports suggest it may be a China-only model, built in China.