Toyota Readies Tesla Model 3 Fighter

  • Toyota bZ3 revealed in patent images in China and will enter production in a joint venture with automaker BYD.
  • The sedan will be offered in a choice of two power levels and will use BYD’s electric motors and batteries.
  • Last December, the Japanese automaker previewed a Camry-sized sedan, which was expected to be among the first EVs in this new lineup to reach production.

    Toyota has only recently launched its bZ sub-brand meant for battery-electric models, which stands for Beyond Zero, and from the start we knew we’d see at least a couple of models aimed at the Tesla Model 3, but aimed at undercutting it in price. The Toyota bZ3, whose design was revealed this month, certainly looks like an EV aimed at doing just that.

    But at the moment it appears it will only be offered in China.

    That’s because the sedan, which features a footprint fairly close to that of the Camry, will be built in a joint venture with China’s BYD.

    At the moment the bZ3 is expected to be offered in two power levels, producing 136 hp or 244 hp, and at least two trim levels. The sedan, revealed in these images by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, is expected to feature BYD’s electric motors and batteries.

    The sedan is still expected to use Toyota’s e-TNGA platform. Official range figures for the bZ3 are unavailable at the moment, but the sedan is expected to go at least 220 miles fully charged. Pricing in China has not been revealed, but the model has been expected to stick close to the Camry’s price in various markets.

    The bZ3 is slated to be built in a joint venture with Chinese automaker BYD.

    MIIT

    The world’s single largest EV market by volume is China, and by now we’ve seen a number of foreign automakers roll out models exclusive to that market. But we wouldn’t rule out the bZ3 making it to Europe and North America in some form, as Toyota has made it clear it will offer a Camry-sized electric model as part of the bZ lineup. In fact, that model was expected to be revealed this year, before timelines slipped a bit.

    But as a design preview, the bZ3 is a good indicator of what we could see stateside in the not too distant future. The bZ3 is effectively a production version of the bZ SDN concept seen last December, with a few minor exterior differences.

    Toyota has not revealed concrete plans for the sedan’s debut in markets outside China, but it’s difficult to picture a version of this sedan not making it stateside, especially since it appears to be aimed pretty directly at Tesla’s smaller sedan.

    Should Toyota offer the bZ3 stateside if it were priced close to the Camry? Let us know in the comments below.

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