Pioneers of the hybrid electric Prius,
Toyotais adding a new vehicle to the
electrification revolutionannouncing a new all-electric car for its fleet: the bZ4X. It’s the first in a new series of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) that will be introduced to the “Toyota bZ” (Beyond Zero) brand subgroup.
Overall feedback on the announcement was overwhelmingly positive, as many electric car enthusiasts were eager to give the bZ4X a test drive, but one glaring issue was tucked away in the footnotes of the
press releasefrom Toyota.
Owners might not be able to charge their bZ4X in colt weather
The second footnote in the press release stated, “for the bZ4X AWD model, charging may slow down more than other models in weather conditions below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and may not be possible when the temperature drops to around -4 degrees Fahrenheit and below.“
Again, this was tucked away at the bottom of the press release. What should fans make of this warning?
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Will charging problems be a dealbreaker for car buyers?
It’s not uncommon for electric cars to have problems with charging in colder weather, but some automakers have put tech in place to optimize charging even in colder weather.
EVs from Volvo and
Tesla, for example, will precondition the battery to optimal charging temperature when a DC fast charger station is set as its destination, or preconditioning can be manually turned on by the driver using the dashboard controls or associated app.
That being said, Toyota is the first-ever manufacturer to say outright that their vehicles may have DC charging issues in cold weather.
While the inability to use DC fast chargers may discourage people in colder climates to adopt the bZ4X, only time will tell whether adding the footnote about charging was a point of manufacturer transparency or a big oversight in engineering by Toyota.
Different batteries, different problems
The charging warning only applies to the AWD version of the bZ4X, which is ironically what most drivers in cold and icy conditions would likely opt for. The EPA-estimated range for the AWD configuration is also slightly lower at 228 miles, a range that will go even lower in cold conditions.
The reason for this is that, according to
torquenews.com, the two configurations have entirely different battery pack suppliers. The battery pack in the AWD bZ4X is made by Toyota’s supplier CATL, while the front-wheel-drive battery pack is made by Panasonic.
The Panasonic battery pack not only doesn’t come with the charging forewarning, but it also charges 50% faster than the AWD bZ4X.
Toyota’s longstanding reputationfor making reliable cars could be enough to make for a successful launch of the bZ4X, but others are skeptical about how the car will perform in the increasingly competitive electric vehicle marketplace with such a glaring flaw upfront.