Toyota's TM first-ever electric sedan, bZ3, has made an impressive debut, with 5,000 orders pouring in on its first day of sales. Developed through a partnership between FAW-Toyota and China's leading EV manufacturer, BYD Co Ltd BYDDY, bZ3 is Toyota's second fully electric vehicle in its bZ (Beyond Zero) series. The first was the bZ4X SUV, which marked the Japanese automaker's entry into the global EV market.
bZ3, which was officially unveiled in October, is built on Toyota's e-TNGA platform, the same as bZ4X. However, it features a lithium-ion LFP Blade battery, electric motor, and electronic control system from BYD. With a low center of gravity and an upgraded interior, the bZ3 distinguishes itself from Toyota's electric SUV. It also boasts Toyota's largest 12.8-inch suspended multimedia navigation system.
FAW-Toyota introduced the first bZ3 model in March, offering a maximum CLTC range of 616 km (approximately 382 miles) and a starting price of 189,800 RMB (around $27,000). The strong demand for bZ3 on its launch day signals a promising future for the electric sedan, with sales expected to continue their upward trend.
bZ3 comes in three versions: Elite PRO, long-range PRO, and long-range Premium. Elite PRO, priced at 169,800 RMB ($24,680), offers a range of 517 km (321 miles), while long-range PRO and long-range Premium, priced at 189,800 RMB ($27,587) and 199,800 RMB ($29,041), respectively, provide a 616 km (382 miles) range each.
bZ3 is available with two different battery sizes — 135 kW and 180 kW — with both producing a maximum torque of 303 nm (224 lb-ft). The two battery packs — 49.9 kWh and 65.3 kWh — deliver ranges of 517 km (321 miles) and 616 km (382 miles), respectively, under the CLTC standard. Toyota claims that bZ3 can charge from 30% to 80% in just 27 minutes using DC fast charging. Additionally, customers who purchase a bZ3 between Apr 16 and Jul 31, 2023, will receive a limited-time benefit of 15,000 RMB ($2,180).
The success of bZ3 should encourage Toyota to expand its electric vehicle offerings. The company has faced challenges in transitioning to fully electric vehicles, with the bZ4X rollout failing to meet expectations. The partnership with BYD seems to be helping Toyota find its footing in the EV market.
Newly appointed CEO Koji Sato is expected to guide Toyota in a new direction, following the hesitance of his predecessor, Akio Toyoda, to fully commit to electric vehicles. Although bZ3 will not be available in the United States, Toyota plans to launch a new three-row SUV as part of its strategy to introduce 10 new EV models by 2026.
Toyota's position in the EV market is likely to be strengthened with the successful launch of bZ3. The partnership with BYD and the positive market response to the electric sedan are likely to have a significant impact on the company's stock. Toyota continues to innovate and expand its EV lineup. Investors should keep a close eye on this automaker as it navigates the rapidly changing landscape of e-mobility.
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
Toyota currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
A few better-ranked players in the auto space are Geely Automobile Holdings Limited GELYY and Ferrari N.V. RACE, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) at present.
Geely is engaged in automobile manufacturing and related areas. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for GELYY’s 2023 sales and earnings implies year-over-year growth of 57.5% and 7.4%, respectively.
Ferrari is engaged in designing, manufacturing and selling sports cars. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for RACE’s 2023 sales and earnings implies year-over-year growth of 14% and 19.8%, respectively.
You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report