November 2022 Update
Is this the beginning of a Toyota EV scandal?
Norwegian EV testers have found that the Toyota bZ4X does not get anywhere close to achieving the claimed range, efficiency and battery capacity shared by Toyota. The most we’ll known EV testers in Norway, Elbil24, tested the AWD Toyota bZ4x three times in 70-degree weather, and we’re shocked with the data they collected.
Here’s a summary of what they found, but I recommend reading it for yourself at elbil24.no (using a translator). Elbil24 found that the AWD Toyota bz4x has a 62 kilowatt-hour usable battery, much lower than the 71 kWh Toyota claims. In standardized range testing with an outdoor temperature of 70 degrees F and with the climate control set to 73 F, the bZ4X drove just 190 miles on a full charge. Its efficiency is 25% worse than Toyota claims. Merely turning the climate control on dropped the range estimate by nearly 30%.
This isn’t the first poor showing for the model. Toyota bZ4X charging tests are bad to the point that it’s almost scary. InsideEVs previously found that it takes 90 minutes (yes, 1.5 hours) to charge the AWD bZ4X from 0% to 90% (adding 205 miles of range). Trying to get the car to 100% was pointless. It took another few HOURS. Check out their experience here.
Needless to say, we can’t recommend the Toyota bZ4X or its platform sibling the Subaru Solterra with testing showing huge disappointments. We’ll update this page as we learn more.
Is Toyota’s First EV Worth It?
When Toyota unveiled the Prius hybrid in August of 2000, green tech and sustainability advocates jumped for joy, while the rest of the world pondered the reliability and durability of a hybrid gasoline-electric powertrain. Toyota proved to the world that it was on to something, and has since gone on to sell more than 15 million hybrid vehicles globally. Over 22 years later, Toyota has launched its first-ever fully-electric vehicle, the 2023 Toyota bZ4X. Has the bZ4X electric crossover been worth the wait? Well, it depends on your driving habits and budget. Here’s what we know.
bZ4X Pricing and Availability
For those who were anticipating an affordable EV from Toyota, I have some bad news. The 2023 bZ4X starts nearly $17,000 above the entry-level RAV4, and $12,000 over the RAV4 XLE Hybrid. The bZ4X is offered in two trims: XLE and Limited. The front-wheel drive XLE starts at $43,215 with destination. Adding dual-motor all-wheel drive to either trim will tack on $2,080. The Toyota bZ4X Limited with all-wheel drive comes out to $49,995. Of course, these MSRPs are before any dealer markups.
Although the bZ4X is Toyota’s first fully-electric mass-market vehicle, America’s best-selling brand sold enough Prius and RAV4 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) to approach the sales cap enshrined in the existing federal EV tax credit. In 2022, the federal EV tax credit is worth up to $7,500, depending on your tax liability. Tesla and General Motors electric vehicles no longer qualify for this incentive after the two automakers exceeded their 200,000 sale limit, and completed the phase-out period.
Analysts (and even Toyota itself) estimate that the bZ4X will remain eligible for the full $7,500 EV tax credit through 2022. Soon after, they expect to hit the 200,000 sale limit, and the one-year phase out period will ensue until the credit disappears entirely.
State incentives in the form of rebates, tax credits and tax exemptions promote EV adoption in a number of states around the country. Find out if your state offers generous incentives here.
Toyota will offer bZ4X owners and lessees one year of free fast charging at EVgo stations.
EVgo is America’s third-largest public charging network behind Tesla and Electrify America. Over 800 DC fast chargers are located around the U.S., with most located on the coasts, Texas and Great Lakes region.
The Toyota bZ4X’s Charging and Range Are Already Outdated
Before you get too excited about free charging at EVgo, let’s talk charging capabilities. Electric vehicle enthusiasts like myself are puzzled by the outdated charging speeds of the 2023 bZ4X. The front-wheel drive bZ4X is capable of charging at up to 150 kilowatt speeds, which isn’t bad (if the charging curve can sustain that). However, the more powerful and likely more popular all-wheel drive bZ4X is only capable of charging at 100 kilowatts. Why the difference? Battery supply shortages forced Toyota to source the batteries for these two powertrain variants from two different suppliers. And with these charging speeds, it almost seems like Toyota was scraping the bottom of the global battery barrel.
The bZ4X’s charging times are wild, and not in a good way. A recent bZ4X charging test by Kyle Conner of Out of Spec Reviews found that it took 58 minutes (an hour!!!!!) for the AWD bZ4X to charge from 10% to 80%.
Additionally, InsideEVs found that it took 93 minutes to charge from 0% to 90%. That’s NOT normal for an EV in 2022. For comparison, my very own Hyundai IONIQ 5 accomplishes the same feat in 20 minutes, and Tesla’s can do that in 15 minutes. Over 80% of EV charging is done at home overnight, but if you’re a frequent traveler, be very wary of the Toyota bZ4X’s charging speeds.
The 2023 bZ4X’s range is merely okay. It would not be NEARLY as big of an issue if it could charge faster. The front-wheel drive bZ4X is rated for 242 miles with the Limited trim, and 252 miles on the XLE. Upgrade to dual-motor all-wheel drive, and range suffers. The AWD Toyota bZ4X is EPA-rated for 222 miles on the Limited, and 228 miles with lower trims.
Can Performance and Features Redeem Toyota’s First EV?
The bZ4X comes standard with a panoramic glass roof. There’s also adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and Safe Exit Assist. The Limited’s features include a motion-activated power liftgate, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, an upgraded camera, 20-inch rims and faux-leather upholstery. Does that make it worth the hours you’ll spend charging? I’m not so sure.
Toyota’s first EV is loaded with safety features, but bZ4X charging and range capabilities leave a lot to be desired. With the all-wheel drive variant, you’re essentially buying 2016 tech at 2023 prices.
I know more than a few Toyota fans who are disappointed by the bZ4X’s specs. Will this EV turn out to be a winner for Toyota? Time will tell.