ROME – On the occasion of the arrival on the market in Italy of the Toyota bZ4X, the brand’s first electric model, the CEO of Toyota Italia, Luigi Ksawery Luca’, agrees to talk about the brand’s strategies in terms of electrification.
What are your expectations for the Toyota bZ4X?
“Battery electric is part of our multi-technology approach to electrification, together with full-hybrid, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen vehicles. The bZ4X opens the doors to the new bZ-branded electric range, i.e. Beyond Zero. For us it represents a very strong signal about Toyota’s ability to innovate, while also bringing the issue of reliability to the center of attention in the battery electric car sector.”
The electric car market in Italy is dominated by Tesla. Now here comes you, the world‘s largest car manufacturer. How do you plan to establish yourself?
“In electric, based on what the numbers say, there is not yet a mass market. Our approach is customer-oriented, we don’t want forced sales. Other manufacturers, from what we see, are pushing electric. We want to give the customer the opportunity to choose.”
An obstacle to the spread of electric cars remains the price.
“Yes, an electric costs 5-10 thousand euros more than the corresponding petrol models. We need to improve accessibility and for this reason, in addition to launching the First Edition with very rich equipment at 59,900 euros, we have worked on the arrival of a version of the bZ4X below 40,000 euros, in the incentive zone. This is a very aggressive price, considering that it is an SUV of significant dimensions and with top performance.”
When he’ll come?
“Within the year the Toyota bZ4X Pure, as the version I’m talking about will be called, will be available for the Italian market”.
At that price, aren’t you afraid of competition with the plug-in hybrid models you have on your list and are preparing to launch?
“For the electric one, we expect customers who enter the dealership with only the battery-powered car already in mind. From 2026 onwards, however, in our opinion there will be real competition with other engines, whose sales will begin to be eroded by exclusively electric competition”.
Also offer rental cars together with Kinto, the brand dedicated to mobility. What are the prospects?
“The birth of the Kinto represented a strategic choice for Toyota. It will allow us to offer new services to the customer and the example of the Toyota bZ4X makes this clear. The model is also available with a 36-month rental formula at 499 euros per month which includes the addition of a mobility package of one month’s rent with Kinto Share (to have another car when you want it), or the installation of a 7.4 kW home charging wall box, or of a 2,770 kWh charging package together with Enel
A crucial point for the electric car are the batteries. Where is Toyota at?
“For the Toyota bZ4X we guarantee the batteries for 10 years or one million kilometres, simply on the condition that all the required services and checks are carried out at the Toyota assistance network. We are the only ones to do this and it is a solution offered to all customers” .
And what should we expect for the future?
“From 2026 onwards we will have a new generation of batteries on the bZ range, with longer ranges and lower costs. A true family of accumulators with specific solutions for lower cost models, or high performance and high ranges. We are talking about batteries with over 600 kilometers of autonomy and a 40% reduction in cost. And of batteries that will reach 800 kilometers of autonomy with fast charging in less than 20 minutes. Then, from 2027-2028, we expect the arrival of the new lithium battery technology in solid state with distances that will exceed a thousand kilometers and can be recharged in 10 minutes”.