Toyota Corolla-sized EV to rival Tesla Model 3
The new Toyota EV sedan is likely to be named bZ3; will have a top speed of under 160kph.
Toyota is working on a Corolla-sized full-electric sedan that will be positioned to take on the Tesla Model 3, first in China, and then followed by markets like Europe and Asia.
- Corolla-sized EV sedan sits on e-TNGA platform
- Uses BYD’s Blade battery tech
- Will rival Tesla Model 3, BYD Seal, VW ID.6 and Hyundai Ioniq 6
Toyota has been introducing an electric alternative to each of its core mainstream products globally alongside standalone models to compete in new segments. The carmaker recently unveiled the bZ4X, its RAV-4 SUV-sized full-electric crossover already on sale in some markets.
New Toyota EV sedan: based on e-TNGA platform
Like established mainstream rivals such as Volkswagen, Stellantis, Kia and Hyundai, Toyota is using a bespoke EV platform – the e-TNGA, internally known as 40PL – as the basis for a new line of EVs that will, in effect, succeed today’s combustion-engined offerings. The product spearheading this rollout is the RAV4-sized bZ4X crossover, followed by this new sedan which will be almost the size of the Toyota Corolla.
According to a preview of the line-up given by Toyota CEO and president Akio Toyoda at the end of last year, the bZ4X will be followed by an array of mainstream and enthusiast-oriented EVs, ranging from urban-focused hatchbacks to rugged off-roaders, large SUVs, compact commercial vehicles and a sleek new sedan aimed at some of the world’s most popular EV models.
New Toyota EV sedan: likely to be called bZ3
This full-electric sedan – referred to as the bZ sedan in concept form but now thought to be taking the bZ3 name into production – will first be aimed at the Chinese market, where such cars remain hugely popular in the face of a wider global shift towards SUVs.
Meanwhile, an onslaught of similarly positioned new models from rival firms are keen to steal market share from the Tesla Model 3. Volkswagen will launch the sleek ID 6 EV sedan in China next year and Hyundai’s similarly positioned Ioniq 6 will arrive in the coming months. There’s also a raft of electric executive sedans on the way from nascent – but rapidly expanding – Chinese firms with global ambitions, including the Nio ET5, Xpeng P5 and the not-yet-confirmed but highly likely BYD Seal.
New Toyota EV sedan: Blade battery tech from BYD
The BYD Seal is interesting because a new partnership between Toyota and BYD is set to result in the bZ3 using the Chinese firm’s innovative Blade lithium-iron-phosphate battery technology, which is said to be a much safer and more energy-dense alternative to the conventional lithium-ion items powering its rivals. It’s also more compact, which should give the bZ3 a competitive edge in terms of interior space.
BYD, on the other hand, will introduce its first EV SUV, the Atto 3, in India on October 11, 2022.
New Toyota EV sedan: dimensions, expected powertrain and range
At 4,725mm long, 1,835mm wide and 1,475mm tall, the bZ3 seems well placed to take the role of the big-selling Toyota Corolla, especially in markets like Europe and Asia.
The bZ3 will be available with either 176hp or 235hp, weigh 1,710-1,840kg at the kerb and have a top speed of under 160kph – figures that stack it up neatly against its direct rivals. Range and efficiency figures remain under wraps, but BYD’s new India-bound Atto 3 SUV (a similar weight) covers 420km using a 64.5kWh Blade battery, so the more aerodynamic sedan may improve upon that figure if armed with the same hardware.
New Toyota EV sedan: the India connection
While Toyota’s Corolla-sized EV sedan may not make it to our shores, Toyota, along with Suzuki, has much bigger plans in introducing a slew of made-in-India born-EV SUVs and MPVs on a platform (27PL), which is derived from the one this sedan uses (40PL). The first product from this partnership will be a Creta-sized EV SUV, which will be unveiled in 2025.
Image source: Chinese Ministry for Industry and Information Technology.