Toyota’s new bZ3 electric vehicle begins production in China

Lionel Kong

All-new Toyota Camry-sized EV is a joint venture between the Japanese carmaker and Chinese EV specialist BYD


Three years after the concept car was first shown to the world in 2020, the Toyota bZ3 EV is now a series production reality. Looking somewhat similar, but slightly chunkier, than the new fifth-generation Toyota Prius, the bZ3 actually has a complicated parental lineage, and for now will only be sold in China. 

It’s a product of the FAW-Toyota joint venture in Tianjin. FAW is the acronym for First Automobile Works, and the company first joined up with Toyota in 2003 to produce vehicles in China including local specification versions of the Toyota Corolla and Vios. The electric Toyota bZ3 is the latest car from this partnership. 

While FAW-Toyota manufactures the bZ3 at the FAW-Toyota New Energy Plant in Tianjin Eco-city, the car’s drive system and lithium-ion battery packs come from another Chinese carmaker, BYD. It isn’t all that surprising as BYD is the world’s largest manufacturer of rechargeable batteries and its EV technology has allowed Toyota to fast track the production of its new electric vehicles including the Toyota bZ4X.

The bZ3, as you might have guessed, is built on the same e-TNGA platform as the bZ4X, and has a claimed range of up to 600km with a 65kWh battery fitted. This is measured based on the CLTC (China Light-Duty Vehicle Test Cycle), which is usually quite optimistic, so expect the real-world range to be around 500km, which is still quite impressive.

The car is front-wheel driven. A single motor with a maximum power output of 180kW (245hp) and a peak torque of 303 Nm accelerates the car from a standstill to 100km/h in 7.5 seconds, and it has a claimed top speed of 160 km/h.

At 4,725mm in length, the bZ3 is actually somewhere in between the size of the Toyota Corolla Altis and the larger Toyota Camry. Pictures of the interior reveal a large portrait touchscreen and space for five occupants. The design language is appears to be an evolution of that from the recent bZ4X, with the flat topped and bottomed steering wheel and rotary drive selector.

The initial pre-order price for the car in China, depending on the battery capacity chosen, ranges from 189,900RMB (S$36,880) to 219,800RMB (S$42,685). This puts the car at a pretty premium level, as the BYD Atto 3 EV, known there as the BYD Yuan Plus, has a price tag ranging from 131,800RMB (S$25,595) to 159,800RMB (S$31,035) at time of writing.

Toyota is demonstrating confidence in the car, as customers in China are entitled to free maintenance for ten years or up to 200,000 km, along with 24-hour free road assistance.

There is no news on whether the bZ3 will be exported beyond Chinese shores just yet. With the FAW-Toyota partnership rapidly increasing production output however, it could soon start building cars for export to the rest of the world the same way Tesla and BMW’s Chinese production plants are already doing.


bZ3 china car electric car FAW-Toyota Toyota

About the Author

Lionel Kong

An old hand from the bad old days of crazy COEs, the straight-shooting, ex-CarBuyer editor is back in the four-wheeled world. Rumours that he went to another country to start a Judas Priest tribute band are unfounded.

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