Toyota’s first electric for Australia has been delayed until early 2024, as the brand looks to launch with strong supply.
The Toyota bZ4X SUV is now set to arrive in showrooms during February 2024, meaning it will be more than 12 months overdue by the time it finally touches down.
As previously confirmed, the bZ4X will feature a higher spec than the car launched for overseas market – although exactly what will change hasn’t been confirmed.
Along with a higher spec, the bZ4X has been delayed to allow Toyota Australia to launch with strong supply.
“We have negotiated with our parent company to receive a substantially higher share of production than we originally planned,” said Toyota Australia vice president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley.
“We expect to be able to deliver several thousand cars in 2024, and they will have an upgraded spec compared to what is currently available.”
Based on 2023 sales to date, that would align the bZ4X (roughly) with the Polestar 2 on the sales charts. It won’t have Toyota rubbing shoulders with the best-selling Tesla Model 3 and Model Y, however.
In a bid to combat fears about depreciation, Toyota will offer “flexible options” for prospective buyers.
That means along with cash or finance, it will be available with “full service lease options through Toyota Finance Australia” – essentially one monthly payment including registration, insurance, charging, and maintenance.
While the Australian line-up is yet to be detailed, the bZ4X is available overseas with a choice of 150kW single-motor front-wheel drive and 160kW dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrains, both teamed with a 71.4kWh lithium battery pack.
Range on the FWD is 516km on the tougher WLTP test cycle, and 470km on the AWD, while claimed 0-100km/h times are 8.4 seconds and 7.7 seconds respectively.
The FWD weighs 1920kg, with the AWD adding 85kg taking it to 2005kg. For context the dual-motor Tesla Model Y weighs 2003kg.
Mr Hanley forecasts 60 per cent of buyers will opt for the front-wheel drive model, and 40 per cent will go for all-wheel drive.
Pricing has yet to be announced for Australia but Mr Hanley has previously said the car will be “expensive”, much like the Prius was back in 2001.
“Battery electric cars are expensive. Don’t kid yourself. They are expensive to build,” said Mr Hanley.
“So I’ve always said this car will not be a cheap car. But as we go forward, as hybrid did over 22 years at scale-up, EVs will come down in price.”
The company plans to have electric vehicle chargers at 232 of its franchise dealers “well ahead” of the bZ4X’s launch later this year, for exclusive use by Toyota vehicles.
Dealers will be footing the bill for the infrastructure, which Toyota Australia says represents a collective investment of $20 million.
These locations will install “at least” one AC or DC charger, and Toyota says it expects the number to vary based on geographical location.
MORE: Everything Toyota bZ4X