Electric vehicle makers could be seeing a new competitor in their rear view mirrors.
With the all-electric BZ4X, Toyota is finally joining the EV race as the Japanese automaker looks to compete with the likes of Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report, Ford (F) – Get Ford Motor Company Report, General Motors (GM) – Get General Motors Company Report, Volkswagen (VWAGY) – Get Volkswagen AG Report and electric truck start-up Rivian (RIVN) – Get Rivian Automotive, Inc. Class A Report.
‘Carbon Neutral Future’
Most of Toyota’s current EV sales are hybrids powered by a combination of battery-powered and internal combustion engine motors.
This includes the Prius, a hybrid that went on sale in Japan on 1997.
Toyota said it plans to expand to around 70 electrified models globally by 2025 with an eye on carbon neutrality by 2050.
The company said it has put more than 20 million electrified models on the road and will spend over $70 billion on EVs with the target to launch 3.5 million battery electric vehicles globally in 2030.
The BZ4X “not only looks to further Toyota’s commitment to a carbon neutral future, but it does so in style,” Toyota said.
“This is a lackluster EV. You could have done so much better,” one person tweeted.
“Very nice good work,” another posted.
Crowded Field of Competitors
Style may come in handy as the company looks to stand out among the growing field of electric vehicle makers.
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Tesla is still the top electric vehicle maker and last week CEO Elon Musk inaugurated the company’s Gigafactory in Austin, Tex. with its much-hyped Cyber Rodeo.
Musk said the long-delayed cybertruck will begin production at the Texas factory next year.
General Motors is looking to electrify its fleet with President Joe Biden acknowledging GM and Ford last month in his State of the Union address.
Ford is developing electric versions of its legendary models and also electric versions of its bestsellers.
Last month, Volkswagen said it is putting down $7.1 billion in North America over the next five years to push its electrical and digital makeover.
Volkswagen is looking to drive 55% of U.S. sales to be fully-electric by 2030.
However, the German automaker has warned that the demand for chips in cars remain high as supply chain constraints persist and will not improve until 2024.
The BZ4X , which has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $42,000, will be available “this spring,” according to Toyota’s announcement, but a notice on the company’s website says the 2023 bZ4X is “currently available in select states only and in extremely limited quantities.”
And speaking of limited quantities, Toyota recently informed suppliers that it plans to cut global production to around 700,000 in May, down 10% from its previous plan, according to Nikkei Asia, as the supply chain continues to be battered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a resurgence in Covid-19 cases.
The announcement comes after the automaker decided to cut global production by 17% in April.
Enthusiasm for electric vehicles has surged as gas prices have soared. Web search interest in electric vehicles reached a record high in the U.S. in March, according to Google Trends.