Toyota BZ4X: Australian release date confirmed for Tesla Model Y EV rival

Toyota BZ4X: Australian release date confirmed for Tesla Model Y EV rival

Toyota’s long-awaited first full-EV will hit Australian roads later this year, expected to be priced above the RAV4.

Toyota has today announced more specific release dates and timing for its BZ4X electric crossover in Australia.

The BZ4X will land in Australia as a competitor to the Tesla Model Y, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 and is expected to be launched at a price of around $75,000.

The long-awaited Toyota BZ4X arrives in Q4 this year

Slightly larger in size than the popular Toyota RAV4 mid-size SUV, the BZ4X is a five-seat SUV available in front-wheel drive (FWD) and AWD configurations and comes only as a fully electric car.

It’s the under-the-skin twin of the Subaru Solterra electric SUV currently slated for an Australian release date in mid-2023 – perhaps 3-6 months before the BZ4X lands.

When will the BZ4X be released in Australia?

The BZ4X will be released in Australia in the fourth quarter of 2023 – between October and December this year.

This is a delay of around a year after the car was first promised to launch in Australia (late 2022). The release date was later revised to the second half of 2023, which the new deadline will still meet.

The BZ4X is slightly larger than a RAV4

Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia’s vice president of sales and marketing, told Chasing Cars there were a number of reasons for the delay.

This included allowing Toyota dealers to build up a reasonable stock of the BZ4X at dealerships ahead of launch, and because Toyota will launch the car in Australia as a 2024 model with an as-yet-unknown specification upgrade over the current model.

What will be the Toyota BZ4X price in Australia?

The BZ4X may be similar in size to the Toyota RAV4 – Australia’s most popular SUV model – but the BZ4X will be more expensive than that petrol and hybrid model which finishes at $55,150 before on-road costs.

It remains to be seen how much the BZ4X will cost

Speaking to Chasing Cars today during an early preview drive of the BZ4X, Toyota VP Hanley said there’s no getting around the fact that electric vehicles are expensive to produce.

“Battery electric cars are expensive – don’t kid yourself,” he said. “Lithium prices have gone through the roof … this car will not be a cheap car.” In some cases, Hanley said EVs can be double the cost of their combustion engine counterparts.

When asked if that meant the BZ4X would cost double the RAV4’s price, he said no.

Hanley told Chasing Cars that Toyota will aim for the BZ4X to be priced competitively with the Tesla Model Y – the most popular EV in Australia and the BZ4X’s main competitor.

In Australia, the Model Y costs $68,900 before on-road costs in rear-wheel drive format with similar range claims and performance to the front-wheel drive version of the BZ4X.

In the UK, the cost of a BZ4X starts where the RAV4 ends

UK pricing may provide some insight into how the BZ4X’s pricing will fare relative to the RAV4.

In the UK market, a base model, FWD BZ4X costs about the same as a top-of-the-range AWD hybrid RAV4. However, standard specs are usually much stronger in Australia, meaning the cheapest BZ4X is likely to be priced at $70,000-75,000.

With a roughly 20-30 percent increase in cost for the BZ4X over the RAV4, it’s safe to assume local prices will start around $70,000 to $80,000, depending on the level of equipment offered.

“The starting point will be higher [than RAV4],” Hanley admitted.

A cost of $70,000-75,000 will make the price of the BZ4X more or less similar to the Kia EV6 (from $72,590), Hyundai Ioniq 5 (from $72,000) and Tesla Model Y (from $70,700).

Range and specifications of the Toyota BZ4X

The launch of the BZ4X model – the brand’s pivotal first series-production battery-electric vehicle – has been hampered in the northern hemisphere by protracted recalls related to wheel alignment. It’s a problem that Toyota says has now been resolved.

Based on Toyota’s e-TNGA electric vehicle platform, adapted from the company’s combustion TNGA chassis, the BZ4X has a claimed range of up to 516km (WLTP) in moderate temperatures.

That’s courtesy of a 64 kWh usable lithium-ion battery that, impressively, is guaranteed by Toyota to retain at least 70 percent of its original capacity (45 kWh usable, or about 360 km of range) for ten years.

FWD and AWD models are being evaluated

Toyota has confirmed that it is evaluating both front- and all-wheel drive variants of the BZ4X for the Australian market.

Australia will receive MY24-badged vehicles when they arrive in the fourth quarter of this year, with the aforementioned models receiving a yet-to-be-specified upgrade over the current specification available overseas.

An increase in claimed driving range appears to be a likely area for improvement, with rival carmakers such as Polestar and Tesla upgrading their range figures as the efficiency of battery and electric car technology rapidly improves.

Both FWD and AWD models are considered

In Europe and America, the BZ4X is available in both front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) format.

The FWD model has a single motor that produces 150kW of power and 265Nm of torque, and promises a 7.5sec 0-100km/h sprint.

The AWD version adds a smaller 80kW rear motor for combined outputs of 163kW/337Nm and a 6.9sec. claimed 0-100km/h time. Choosing the AWD version reduces the claimed range by eight percent to 470 km.

Toyota says the BZ4X’s peak DC charging speed is 150kW, with an 80 per cent charge achieved in 30 minutes, while three-phase 11kW AC charging is possible with a compatible wall box allowing six hours of recharging at home.

Toyota dealers are installing chargers in preparation for EVs

Overseas, 18-inch or 20-inch wheels are available, depending on trim level.

Inside, the BZ4X has a more futuristic theme than the more conventional petrol hybrid RAV4. A wider touchscreen is borrowed from the refreshed Kluger, while there’s a small digital driver instrument cluster beyond a reworked steering wheel.

Toyota dealers invest in EV chargers for sales and service use

Of Toyota’s massive roughly 275 dealer network, 232 have confirmed they have invested five million dollars each to ensure they can support the sale and service of electric cars.

As part of this investment, dealers will equip their showrooms with chargers, although it is understood that these will initially be limited to Toyota vehicles and will be used to support ongoing duties rather than adding to the public charging network.

Traders as far away as Alice Springs in central Australia and Broome in Western Australia have invested in the necessary upgrades.

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