In California, USA, Silicon Valley and Hollywood, which are not far from each other, have been circulating a legend-because Apple once had private contracts with six major producers, in Hollywood blockbusters, the good guys only use Apple products, while the villains mostly use Dell computers. Of course, this “secret contract” has never been confirmed by Apple.
Similarly, another unwritten rule in Hollywood movies and TV dramas – middle-class liberal characters, only drive Toyota Prius. In the United States, which is a large-displacement fuel vehicle, a small-displacement hybrid model such as the Prius has succeeded in becoming a “stereotype”, which shows its status in people’s lives.
In 2015, when the new forces of car-making are surging, the global sales volume of a single Prius model has exceeded 7 million units. From this point of view, the new energy road of the main engine manufacturer Toyota is at least 20 years earlier than the current rising stars.
Recently, with the debut of bZ3 and bZ4 X models one by one, Toyota, a pioneer in the field of new energy vehicles, has gradually begun to replicate its past glory in the field of electric vehicles.
This week, Toyota officially exposed the sedan model bZ3 of its pure electric series model bZ through a press conference, which is also the second model in the series after the bZ4 X last year.
Also based on the Toyota e-TNGA platform, the bZ 3 is younger than the “big brother” bZ4 X. This is also in line with the naming rules of OEMs. Often “3” series models are more youthful and sporty. For example, BMW’s 3 series was once the dream car of many young people.
In terms of appearance, the bZ 3 has the same family front face as the bZ4 X, with a closed front grille and a penetrating light strip, exposing the “pure electric” lineage of the bZ3. The raised “muscle line” on the front cover also shows that this is not a pet as docile as a Prius. In addition to the streamlined lines on both sides of the body, the two “dents” on the hem also make the body look more rigid.
If you talk about Toyota’s previous models, try to be “low-key”. The bZ series models represented by bZ3 have gradually moved closer to the new forces of car-making – their appearance is more flamboyant, which can more directly arouse people’s “likes and dislikes”. Point is very attractive to young buyers.
Entering the car, a large vertical screen connected to the central control island and a dashboard on the front side of the steering wheel constitute the main structure of the cab. The extremely simplified design is also the most popular style of electric vehicles at present—— There are as few physical buttons as possible, and a large screen controls the whole car. Of course, common functions can still be operated on the physical buttons on both sides of the steering wheel.
Speaking of the steering wheel, the bZ3 does not use the traditional round steering wheel, but uses a slightly flat “shaped” steering wheel up and down, which makes people think of the Yoke steering wheel launched by Tesla before. Although not as radical as Tesla, the steering wheel of the bZ3 can give the driver the illusion of driving a racing car.
The reduction of physical buttons must be matched with other control schemes, such as voice. The bZ3 is also equipped with an AI voice assistant, which Toyota named “Xiao Fei” – as a common Chinese character in Japanese and Chinese, it both means “door”. Obviously, Toyota hopes that this smart assistant, together with the smart car machine, will allow the bZ3 to open the door for consumers and enter a new world.
“Three Wins Together”
Recently, there has been a stalk on the Internet, telling about Japanese counterparts who bought back the “Chinese magic car” Wuling Hongguang Mini EV, carefully disassembled the parts, and calculated how to use 50,000 yuan to build a car similar to the popular Japanese car. “K-Car” car. The final conclusion is that such a car can really only be built in China.
For laymen watching the excitement, behind such a stalk, it reflects the strength of Chinese manufacturers in the field of electric vehicles by leaps and bounds. The automobile industry has always been a highly globalized industry.
Learning, cooperation, and evolution are an eternal theme for the automotive industry, the “jewel in the industrial crown”.
At the beginning of the bZ3 conference, the promotional video played the puzzle of “1+1+1=?”
Behind this simple arithmetic problem, there is actually Toyota, a major main engine manufacturer. In the era of new energy vehicles, it is open-minded, actively embraces changes, and seeks the determination to cooperate and win-win.
The bZ3 series models are actually the product of the cooperation between Toyota, BYD and FAW Toyota.
As the earliest domestic company involved in pure electric vehicles, after years of research and development, BYD has accumulated sufficient technical strength in the three aspects of motor, electronic control and battery. In order to ensure cooperation, Toyota and BYD cooperated to establish “BYD Toyota Electric Vehicle Technology Co., Ltd.” (BTET). The former also sent a team of engineers of up to 100 people to enter China to build the bZ3 together with the teams from BYD and FAW Toyota.
The result of this cooperation is the bZ3 car. From this point of view, bZ3 should be regarded as a “hybrid”. If you try to look at each part from the three words “electric vehicle”, the significance of its cooperation will be more obvious.
In terms of “electricity”, with the cooperation and blessing of Toyota and BYD, a comprehensive technical upgrade has been achieved, and a new pure electric system that is more efficient and safe has been achieved. In terms of “movement”, Toyota e-TNGA brings a new look of good driving characteristics, taking into account the characteristics of large space, not easy to fatigue, and fun to drive.
In terms of “cars”, Toyota, as a major OEM, has obvious advantages in design. Due to the chassis changes brought about by the pure electric platform, the team redesigned the seats, steering wheel and even switches and brake pedals, striving to make the driver’s sitting posture more scientific and more relaxed, and to ensure the comfort of remote driving.
At the same time, Toyota gave bZ3 a definition of “Family Lounge”, which means that not only the cockpit, but also the rear passengers also need a more comfortable experience. One of the details, the team used the flat characteristics of the chassis to design the center console into a hollow form, so that the occupants sitting in the middle of the rear row can also have enough leg room. An impressive picture in the promotional video is that all three passengers in the back row can ride in the posture of “lifting Erlang’s legs”.
Going back to the simple arithmetic question at the beginning of this paragraph, Toyota, which is making pure electric models with an open and win-win mentality, hopes the answer is greater than 3.
always have a dark horse
From 2015 to the present, in less than 7 years, new energy vehicles represented by pure electric models have drawn a beautiful upward curve in China. According to data from the China Passenger Transport Association, the penetration rate of new energy vehicles in the Chinese market has reached more than 30% in recent months. This situation is rare in the world. At least at the market level, China has achieved the “curve overtaking” of new energy vehicles.
In the new energy wave, the first batch of new car-making forces, such as Weilai, Ideal and Xiaopeng, ate the first wave of dividends from electric vehicles and entered the global auto industry as a “dark horse”.
Following closely behind, domestic companies such as BYD, Changan, Great Wall, and Geely have also made heavy bets in the field of pure electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, and have begun to see returns from the market.
In contrast, large foreign manufacturers such as Volkswagen did not respond as quickly as Chinese manufacturers, but they also began to launch the “ID.” series of models to catch up with the oncoming new wave.
In contrast, Toyota, which was the first to make hybrid models, has so far sold more than 20 million hybrid vehicles worldwide. The bZ series is the main engine manufacturer, showing its transformation masterpiece on the pure electric track.
As electric vehicles continue to “deep down” at the price and consumer levels, major manufacturers like Toyota, which have deep technical accumulation and maintain an open mind to cooperate with electric technology companies, have more than 700 offline store resources across the country. It is also its favorable “hole card” in the wave of new energy vehicles.
The competition for new energy vehicles will undoubtedly become more and more intense, especially in the relatively special Chinese market. The major host manufacturers who have already started to “reminisce” are probably the new “dark horses”.
In fact, the war on the new energy vehicle track has just begun, and the variables are still very large.