Toyota to launch a Prius-like bZ3C electric crossover, but you can’t have it


To keep up with surging BYD, Tesla, and other EV makers, Toyota is launching a new all-electric crossover. The Toyota bZ3C looks like the new Prius, but the electric SUV crossover won’t be available in the US.

Toyota to launch bZ3C in China as new BYD rival

“What kind of BEV would bring smiles to the faces of our Chinese Customers?” Executive Vice President and CTO Hiroki Nakakima asked during a press conference last month.

Toyota debuted its new bZ3C at the 2024 Beijing Auto Show in April as part of its “multi-pathway approach” to reduce emissions.

The bZ3C is designed as a fun, spacious EV around the concept of “reboot.” Toyota says the distinctive styled EV focuses on features to create a fun personal space for younger Gen Z buyers.

Toyota jointly developed the bZ3C with BYD Toyota EV Tech, FAW Toyota Motor, and Intelligent Electromobility R&D Center by Toyota.

BYD Toyota EV Tech, a joint venture between BYD and Toyota, has already launched the co-developed bZ3 electric sedan in China. However, the bZ3C appears to be a slightly bigger crossover SUV.

Toyota bZ3C electric crossover SUV (Source: Toyota)

The bZ3C was unveiled alongside the bZ3X, an all-electric “family-oriented” SUV. According to Toyota, the concept’s interior is based on a mobile “Cozy Home.”

Toyota bZ3C interior (Source: Toyota)

Both models will feature Toyota’s latest driver-assist systems and smart cockpits. Toyota is expected to begin selling both new EVs in China within the next year.

Prices and final specs will be revealed closer to launch. Check back soon for more info.

Electrek’s Take

After losing market share to BYD and other Chinese EV makers, Toyota is targeting younger buyers to compete in the region.

Toyota’s sales fell 3.1% in China in March due as “market competition continues intensifying.” Sales are down 1.6% through the first quarter as Toyota looks to rebound in the second half of 2024.

Although Toyota’s new bZ3C is designed for China, US customers also have something to look forward to.

Toyota is preparing another large electric SUV (in addition to the already announced three-row EV) as part of its recent $1.4 billion investment in its Princeton, Kentucky plant. It could be the electric Highlander we’ve been waiting for.

David Christ, GM of Toyota’s US division, told CarBuzz last month, “You’re going to see more BEVs from us in the future.” According to Christ, this will include an electric three-row Toyota Highlander.

Toyota is also considering electric Tacoma and Tundra models, but don’t get too excited. The company is monitoring the demand for rivals like the F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T.

The company could use new electric models in the US, with its sole bZ4X accounting for less than 0.5% of sales through March. With the Lexus RZ included, total Toyota EV sales are still under 0.62%.

What do you think? Should Toyota launch its smaller electric crossover in the US? Let us know your thoughts below.

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