Toyota unveils electric people mover, SUV coupe for China

Toyota unveiled two new bZ EV concepts at the Shanghai Motor Show, but their production versions could be China-only models.

The bZ Sport Crossover Concept and bZ FlexSpace Concept preview new cars coming to China in 2024.

Earlier this month, Toyota’s new CEO publicly announced the company’s ambitious goal of selling 1.5 million electric vehicles annually by 2026. For comparison, Toyota sold just 24,466 pure electric vehicles worldwide in 2022, and Tesla produced 1.3 million cars last year.

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To hit the 1.5 million mark, Toyota plans to launch 10 new all-electric models by 2026, including an EV Ute likely based on the HiLux.

bZ Sport crossover concept Credit: car expert

Two of those 10 new electric vehicles will be China-specific models, specifically designed to “meet local needs.” It’s possible that the Sport Crossover and FlexSpace will preview these two China-only models.

Aside from the interior and exterior design, we know very little about these new cars other than the fact that they were developed jointly with Toyota’s two Chinese manufacturing partners.

Aimed at Gen Z, the bZ Sport crossover combines “active, iconic styling” with “features [that] will evolve after purchase,” presumably via over-the-air updates and online store purchases.

delivered Credit: car expert

Red mesh seats, yellow accents and a curved, presumably OLED infotainment touchscreen characterize the concept car’s minimalist interior.

The sport crossover was jointly developed with BYD and FAW, a Chinese car manufacturer based in Changchun, not far from the North Korean border. FAW operates one of two manufacturing joint ventures with Toyota.

A similar development and manufacturing arrangement was used for the bZ3, a China-only electric sedan launched in late 2022. The bZ3 uses Toyota’s e-TNGA architecture, but features a lithium iron phosphate battery pack developed by BYD.

At launch, the bZ3 will be available with a choice of two powertrains, either 136kW or 183kW, and both with single-motor rear-wheel drive.

bZ FlexSpace concept Credit: car expert
delivered Credit: car expert

With its more upright body, the bZ FlexSpace is aimed at an older audience who need to transport family and gear, with an emphasis on “large cabin space”. [and] User friendliness”. The concept’s off-roader styling cues do well to disguise its people-mover intentions.

Like the other concept, the FlexSpace has a minimalist interior with an angular steering wheel. There’s velor-like trim on the doors and dashboard, flat front seats, a sliding center console, and a more conventional freestanding infotainment touchscreen.

The production version of the FlexSpace is produced by Toyota’s other manufacturing partner, GAC, based in Guangzhou, near Hong Kong.

Unlike the Sport Crossover, the FlexSpace was developed without the help of BYD.

James Brien

James Brien is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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