Toyota Unveils First Electric Vehicle Since 2014


Serious automakers are finally ready to go all-in on electric vehicles. And Toyota is no exception. By announcing its launch of the first fully electric vehicle in eight years, the company is joining giants such as Ford, General Motors, Nissan, and Tesla in betting that more consumers will opt for EVs over traditional vehicles.

Toyota announced on Tuesday, the bZ4X, their new electric small SUV, and along with its announcement, Toyota officials released preliminary specs. The new SUV is going to start at $42,000 and can go up to 252 miles on a single charge.

The bZ4X is an important model because it will attract buyers who have been using internal combustion engines and convince them to switch, according to S&P Global Mobility analyst Stephanie Brinley.

“You've got buyers who are interested in checking this out but may not be willing to try a new brand, or leave (Toyota) to go to Chevrolet or Ford,”. “As we transition to a market that is more dominated by electric vehicles, the answer is really convincing normally ICE (internal combustion engine) owners to try something new.”

The new bZ4X has a similar appearance to the Toyota's RAV4, the best-selling car in the United States, however, it is somewhat longer, lower, and wider.  According to Toyota, the all-wheel-drive model can go from 0 to 60 mph in as little as 6.5 seconds.

Initially, the program of sales will target states with zero-emission vehicle requirements, then spread to the rest of the United States. The bZ4X will be unveiled at the New York International Auto Show, which takes place from April 15-24.

A $7,500 federal tax credit will be available for hybrid buyers when Toyota's bZ4X goes on sale in the United States. But buyers may want to act fast: Toyota could hit its 200,000-vehicle limit on tax credits by June of this year. The company met the cap mainly by selling plug-in gas-electric hybrid vehicles like the RAV4 Prime.

Toyota is recommitting to EVs after a fairly long absence from the EV market. This puts further pressure on Tesla, whilst encouraging the wider industry to begin a serious rollout of EVs. 

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