Toyota has provided, what appears to be, a preview of an all-electric C-HR with the bZ Compact SUV.
First teased as ‘Crossover EV’ last December alongside 10 other electric Toyota design studies, the bZ Compact is said to provide “a glimpse of what the future could be,” with many speculating the concept previews an all-electric alternative to Toyota’s mid-sized C-HR SUV – given the dimensions – akin to the similarly named bZ4X’s relationship with the RAV4.
Named in reference to Toyota’s ‘Beyond Zero’ desires for carbon-neutrality by 2050, the bZ Compact landed just one day after the reveal of the new fifth generation Prius, and features much the same “clean-vital design approach” to the design.
“We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of the Beyond Zero moniker,” Toyota group VP and general manager David Christ explains. “With an aerodynamic design coupled with intuitive tech features never before seen in a Toyota model, the bZ concept showcases another possible vision of the very near future with our battery electric vehicles.”
The thin, LED head and tail lamps are particular highlights of the design, with both connected via full-width lightbars above the hexagonal-esque front bumper and below the heavily sloped rear window and split roof-lip spoilers respectively. The short overhangs and wheels pushed into each corner give the rakish concept “a more aggressive stance,” though aero-efficiency and optimized cabin space are undoubtedly the priority behind the sleek bodywork. In production guise, the concept might even better the bZ4X’s 0.29 cd drag co-efficient.
Granted, the interior cabin design is more conceptual, boasting as it does a yoke in place of a steering wheel, the curved infotainment screen, and a rather natty diagonally-mounted centre console. Little of this is likely to make production, though Toyota does foreground the plant-based and recycled materials used to create the seats and the upholstery. The “in-car personal agent” – ‘Yui’ – also previews Toyota’s developing interactive infotainment system, and, potentially, even autonomous driving: Yui connects both driver and passenger to the vehicle and responds to vocal requests and commands by using audio and lighting cues that move around the cabin.
Details with regards the underpinning have not been revealed, though it’s likely the bZ Compact sits upon the same e-TNGA platform as the bZ4X, and is thus likely to have adapted the latter’s front and/or dual-powertrain.