Update – Toyota says the bZ4X electric car may not charge below -4 degrees Fahrenheit

Noticeable: This story was updated after publication.
Toyota contacted Torque News after we reported that the company reported 32 degrees Fahrenheit as the temperature at which DC fast charging might not work. Toyota says it means to say -4 F.

A footnote in the latest Toyota bZ4X battery-powered press release says, “DC charging may not work on AWD bz4x when the temperature is lower 32 -4 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that Toyota’s new electric vehicle will come to market with a significant disadvantage compared to its peers such as the VW ID.4, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5.

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What makes the caveat even more worrisome is that it applies to the all-wheel-drive version of the bZ4X, which is the coldest EV shopper of choice. And the EPA-estimated range of the bZ4X in an AWD configuration is low for the market 228 miles. However, this is in warm Circumstances. In the cold, this range will be reduced. Ironically, the bZ4X color name shown above is “Wind Chill Pearl”.

background storyPrediction: The EPA will switch to the 3-digit electric vehicle range number to tackle cold weather reduction

This cold weather warning may validate the opinion of those who say that Toyota rushed its electric car to the market after losing the market switch to electric batteries. Toyota is only now on the verge of releasing its only battery-powered electric crossover in nearly a decade. Both previous BEV crossovers were Toyota RAV4 EVs that were low-volume vehicles sold in limited markets. The new bZ4X appears to represent a broader effort that will make siblings on the same core platform that underpins many models sold by the Toyota, Lexus and Subaru brands.

DC fast charging is quickly becoming a standard for general charging. The reason is that Level 2 charging does not provide an average power delivery rate that makes the short charging pause worthwhile. For example, we’ve charged several vehicles with public Level 2 chargers for about 20 minutes, and the added charge is only about 7 miles of range. Really worthless.

EV test experts like Kyle Conner of Out of Spec Studios have pointed out that the Toyota bZ4X appears to have the slowest charge rate and the most unusual charge profile of its peers. When the bZ4X was connected to a 50 kW fast charger, Kyle found that the indicated time to fully charge it was 7 hours. 50 kW DC fast chargers are the most common type of fast charger in popular electric vehicle markets such as the Boston Metro. Despite the hype of the new 350 kW fast chargers, most DC fast chargers currently available run up to seven times slower.

Additional evidence that the Toyota bZ4X is having difficulty with fast charging comes in the same press release. It also warns electric vehicle shoppers that “…charging DC more than twice per day can also negatively affect charging time.” The owners manual warns, “Avoid frequent DC charging.”

Most electric vehicle owners charge their electric vehicles at home most of the time. However, on out-of-town trips or on long trips, fast DC charging is essential to keep an electric car working. While the new Toyota bZ4X certainly looks like a great car overall, the fact that Toyota has so many dire warnings about charging it with the actual standard public charging method makes us wonder if the car is really a viable contender in the broader green crossover market.

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What we understand is that the battery pack on the AWD bZ4X is made by a Toyota supplier CATL. It is a different battery than the one with the front-wheel drive version of the car, which is manufactured by Panasonic. Kyle Conner notes that the Panasonic battery charges 50% faster than the CATL battery on AWD models. Kyle summed up his opinion of the bZ4X’s battery and charge rate case by saying “…it doesn’t make much sense to me at all.”

Subaru fans love snow, and we’re bringing this up because the new Subaru Solterra is a badge swap bZ4X built by Toyota at their Motomachi plant in Japan. Snow-centric Subaru enthusiasts looking for an all-wheel-drive (AWD) electric vehicle should heed Toyota’s warnings about how to charge this vehicle in cold weather.

Tell us in the comments below what you think of the new AWD battery-electric crossover that comes with a warning that it may not ship below 32 -4 F.

Top page image by Toyota. The press release referenced in this story is titled “Five things to know about the all-electric Toyota bZ4X. Posted in Toyota US Media Support newsroom on May 4, 2022. Toyota corrected that press release on May 10.

John Gorham He is a longtime member of the New England Motor Press and a recovering engineer. John’s interest in electric vehicles dates back to 1990 when he designed an EV battery thermal control system as part of an academic team. After earning his degree in mechanical engineering, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with manufacturers of automotive components, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotechnology. In addition to Torque News, John’s work has appeared in print in dozens of US news outlets and provides reviews for many auto shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTokToknCars, at Twitterand check out his credentials on Linkedin

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