Toyota bZ4X is an electric car with a water-cooled battery and solar panel roof

Toyota bZ4X parked in a driveway next to an electric car charger
(Image credit: Toyota)

The Toyota bZ4X is the first electric car from the Japanese brand as it finally jumps on the EV band wagon.

It's not a surprise though, as Toyota unveiled the bZ4X Concept earlier this year, and that concept has now found its way to a full production vehicle - and it doesn't look like too much has changed in the transition from conception to reality.

While this is Toyota's first electric car, it's part of the same group as Lexus, and the premium brand already has its own EV - the UX300e - which appears to share some similar design aspects to the bZ4X.

The Toyota bZ4X range is claimed to be good for over 280 miles on a single charge of the 71.4kWh battery, but it's yet be officially tested so the final range will be confirmed at a later date.

Utilizing water and the sun

For the first time, Toyota is using water-cooling technology for the battery in its new EV to help improve quality and prolong the battery's durability.

Toyota claims the battery in the bZ4X will only see a marginal reduction in performance over time, saying that it will lose around 10% in 10 years of driving, or 150,000 miles - whichever comes first.

There's fast-charging support, with 80% of charge able to be regained in 30 minutes when using a 150kW charger.

The bZ4X will be available in FWD (front wheel drive) and AWD (all wheel drive) models, with the former producing 201bhp from its 150kW electric motor for a top speed of 100mph and 0-62mph time of 8.4 seconds.

Opt for the AWD bZ4X and you get two 80kW motors, upping power to 214.5bhp and dropping the 0-62mph time to 7.7 seconds. That should provide some spritely performance, but it's not going to be pulsating in terms of power.

The bZ4X will also have the option of of charging its battery via a solar panel roof (likely to be a costly optional extra) when its moving and parked. 

Toyota hasn't revealed any more information about how the solar panel system will operate, what it will cost, or how much charge or range you can expect it to provide.

The in-car tech

There are a couple of displays inside the cabin, with a 7-inch TFT instrument display located behind the wheel. It sits in a slightly more elevated position than a traditional  cluster, with Toyota moving it more into the eyeline of the driver.

It's basically trying to merge the cluster and a HUD (heads-up display) into a single offering and it will be interesting to see how this setup fares when we get the bZ4X in for review.

A larger touchscreen sits in the middle of the dash, offering up controls for the infotainment system.

You get physical controls for climate and functions including the heated and air-cooled front seats below the main display and support for Apple CarPlay (and we'd assume Android Auto as well - we asked Toyota for confirmation, but we will have to wait for the December 5 European launch to find out).

From the images we've seen so far, there appears to be at least one USB-C port in the front, and one in the back.

The Toyota bZ4X's European launch is scheduled for December, where we hope to learn more about the electric car, with reservations opening on December 15. The first bZ4X cars are expected to arrive with customers in Q3 2022 - which will be sometime between July and September next year.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.