Toyota reveals bZ Compact SUV and says it’s on track for carbon neutrality in Europe

Electrification lagger, Toyota, has hit us with a double whammy of news in the shape of a new EV and the assurance that it is on track for carbon neutrality in Europe by 2040. As well as the bZ Compact EV, a new C-HR prologue PHEV will join the range in due course.

Toyota’s path towards achieving ‘carbon neutrality’ in Europe by 2040, which includes a 100 reduction in CO2 from its new vehicles in the region by 2035 (as mandated by the EU), addresses two strands. According to President and CEO of Toyota in Europe, Matt Harrison, these are “how we plan to achieve it in areas of our business, and the second is the future of mobility” – as Toyota transitions from manufacturing and sales to a “provider of mobility services”.

For the former, Toyota will minimise energy consumption and switch to green energy wherever to supply its operations. Furthermore, Toyota’s strategy sees a reduction in rare earth materials used in electrification. It still isn’t rushing to battery power, preferring hybrid and plug-in hybrid over the next 10-15 years because of “the current short supply and high cost of battery materials and the lack of infrastructure”.

The argument holds some water, albeit a cynic might point out that there’s more money in hybrids for the business and infrastructure issues simply need investment to be overcome.

New electric – and electrified – models

Alongside its tentative strategy to reducing carbon pollution by 2040, Toyota has revealed two new models which will hit the roads in Europe in due course. The first of these is – predictably – a small, electric SUV called the bZ Compact, joining the bZ (beyond zero) sub-brand.

The car has been designed in Europe, for Europe at Toyota European Design and Development in France. It’s built using low-impact, sustainable materials and is designed to offer a clean and futuristic look. Size wise, it’s 4538mm long and 1560mm high.

On the inside, seating is made from plant-based and recycled materials, whilst an in-car personal assistant connects the car to its occupants, alongside audio and lighting cues. Whilst there’s no word on powertrain, the likelihood is that the bZ Compact SUV will join the range in some form by 2026 when Toyota aims to have six bZ models on sale.

Alongside the fully electric bZ, Toyota revealed a new C-HR prologue which is designed to complement the bZ as a PHEV alternative. European designed, it takes the current C-HR forward with new design language, materials and greener production thanks to European battery production.

Like with the bZ, we don’t know anything about the powertrain beyond the fact it will be available as a PHEV, but we suspect more details of the final production model will emerge in the coming months.

#electric-vehicles #PHEVs

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