The 2023 Toyota bZ4X is a fully electric compact crossover SUV. It has left many consumers excited about the automaker’s first all-electric model and others scratching their heads. You might even wonder, “What does ‘bZ4X‘ stand for?” Does the name have a meaning, or is it just a random string of numbers and letters?
It turns out it has a meaning, which might not be what you think it is. In this article, we’ll take a look at what “bZ4X” stands for, the vehicle’s price and electric range, and Toyota’s response to criticism for its delay in electrifying its lineup.
What is the meaning of ‘bZ4X’?
Some critics have bemoaned the Toyota bZ4X’s name because it sticks out among the automaker’s other vehicles, such as the Camry, Corolla, and Sienna. It seems Toyota might be changing its vehicle naming conventions to be more descriptive rather than poetic.
The “bZ” part of the moniker stands for “beyond zero.” Toyota defines this as “not only reducing our carbon footprint to zero but also going beyond to create a net positive impact.” The company also states bZ will be a series of vehicles designed to follow this same mission, so we’ll likely see other bZ models.
Overview of the 2023 Toyota bZ4X
The 2023 Toyota bZ4X starts at $42,000 for the front-wheel-drive base model, the XLE FWD. Buyers can pay extra for an all-wheel-drive model.
EPA estimates show the XLE FWD has an electric driving range of up to 252 miles, while the XLE AWD can go 228 miles. The range isn’t awful compared to similar vehicles, but it lags behind some competitors. Considering EV infrastructure is still lacking, a sub-300-mile range will make 2023 Toyota bZ4X a poor choice for some consumers.
That said, the vehicle has an excellent fuel economy equivalent. The XLE FWD gets 119 MPGe, while the XLE AWD gets 104 MPGe.
Toyota responds to criticism for not electrifying its lineup fast enough
The 2023 bZ4X’s debut is an exciting step for the Japanese auto giant. Toyota has caught flak for lagging behind competitors in EV production and projections.
Unlike companies that are committed to going all-electric within a certain period, Toyota has not yet made any promises on that front. It will continue to support its gas-powered lineup until it decides otherwise.
That decision might be further down the line than you may think. Forbes reports that Toyota refused to sign a UN climate pledge that other automakers joined. It was a commitment to producing only zero-emission vehicles by 2040.
In addition, Toyota says it’s trying to become carbon-neutral by 2050, which is not the same as zero emissions. Carbon-neutral means the company’s positive and negative impact on the environment will weigh to make a net-zero impact, so it will still tolerate some carbon emissions.
Overall, the 2023 Toyota bZ4X is a step in the right direction. But as far as environmentalists are concerned, the carmaker will have to step up its game to live up to its “beyond zero” commitment.