Toyota Experiments With Old-School Electrifications for the Future

Toyota Experiments With Old-School Electrifications for the Future

Toyota recently presented a potential way to change current vehicles to electric models by showcasing some 1980s electric vehicles.

If we want all cars on the road to be electrified, wouldn’t it make sense to offer ways to modify current vehicles to become EVs. It might be nearly impossible to get most drivers to buy in and modify their current vehicles. That said, Toyota recently showed some restomods of their 1980s lineup, which offer the desired look while fueled by electricity and hydrogen. Could this be part of the future of driving?

We’re a long way from an all-EV driving world

Although electric vehicles are taking the world by storm, in markets where EVs aren’t becoming the majority, only a few cars are now zero-emission models. In Japan, where Toyota has its headquarters, only one in 20 cars on the road are new. This means 95% of the cars are older and use gasoline. Certainly, as most cars get older and need to be replaced, EVs will be the only options offered, but some drivers will still look to gas-powered options and avoid electrification unless they’re forced to embrace them.

Will we ever see a fully-electric world?

The only way for auto markets to transition to 100% electric vehicles driving on the roads is to legislate this activity. Think about the number of classic cars that come out when the weather is pleasant. Some of these older cars run on leaded gasoline, which you can still buy at some locations. Although the vast majority of vehicles no longer use this type of gasoline, this is an example of the small percentage that still won’t operate on new fuel sources. The same will be true as we move away from gas-powered vehicles to models using electricity and hydrogen.

Has Toyota invested in electric vehicles?

Although Toyota is often last to the party, this company usually does things better than its competitors. Toyota intends to invest $70 billion in electric vehicles. This is a huge investment and will be spread out across global markets to produce batteries and vehicles that will utilize electricity as the fuel for its fleet. To go along with the monetary investment, Toyota aims to have 3.5 million EVs on the road by 2030. It certainly looks like Toyota is serious about electrifying its lineup to offer the right models for the future.

Does Toyota have any EVs in the market now?

Yes. Toyota has one electric vehicle in the market now. This EV is called the bZ4X, which is a small SUV similar in size to the venerable RAV4. The bZ4X offers 252 miles of driving range and a relatively affordable starting price. If the name seems a bit strange, the bZ part means “beyond zero,” which is meant to tell us that these EVs are much more than simply a vehicle that doesn’t produce any emissions. These EVs can be used as daily drivers and fit into the lifestyle of a former RAV4 owner.

This Toyota EV is futuristic

If you’re wondering what the rest of the name stands for, the “4” tells us this EV is similar in size to the RAV4, and the “X” is used to signify that it’s a crossover SUV. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, how futuristic is this Toyota? The bZ4X can be updated using over-the-air updates, which is a relatively new technology. It’s not often that we see Toyota embrace new tech for vehicles, but it’s a new world with EVs taking over the market.

What makes the Toyota bZ4X an excellent EV to drive?

This new Toyota electric vehicle has a roomy cabin with more space inside, thanks to the electric platform. You’ll find a long list of standard equipment and an AWD option that makes it easy to have power on all four wheels and take the bZ4X out on the trails. The wheelbase of the bZ4X is longer than the RAV4’s at 112.2 inches compared to 105.9 inches. This translates to more interior room for passengers and cargo. All passengers in this electric SUV can be extremely comfortable during any drive.

The rear cargo room is about average for the compact crossover class. This space measures 27.7 cubic feet, which is plenty of room for the stuff you want to take along with you. If you opt for the JBL sound system, a subwoofer resides in the cargo hold, which reduces this space to 25.8 cubic feet. The dashboard brings soft-touch fabric to the mix, and the 12.3-inch infotainment display is a standard part of the mix. You’ll love the airy feeling of the cabin, which is a result of the fixed panoramic glass roof. If you choose the Limited trim, you’ll find a special heater for your legs and feet, which makes this EV more comfortable.

Should you choose AWD or FWD?

Similar to other EVs, the Toyota bZ4X offers an additional motor on the rear axle for its AWD models. If you choose the single-motor FWD version of this EV, you’ll have 201 horsepower and 196 lb-ft from the motor attached to the front axle. This version delivers 252 miles of driving range in the XLE trim and 242 miles for the Limited model.

Choose the AWD version of this Toyota electric vehicle, and you’ve got two electric motors: one on each axle. This setup delivers 214 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. The driving range drops to 228 miles for the XLE trim and 222 miles for the Limited model.

The charging time for this Toyota EV is about 25 miles per hour using an at-home 240-volt charger. If you stop at a public DC fast charger, you can replenish the batteries to 80 percent of the full charge in 30 minutes.

Is this the Toyota electric vehicle you want to drive?

Toyota shows how it’s experimenting with electrification by showcasing some AE86 models from the 1980s that are powered by electricity and hydrogen. While fun to look at, the more realistic forward move for this company lies in its investment in the EV market which starts with the new Toyota bZ4X. Could this new electric SUV be the one you want to drive?

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