After more than a year of what seemed like constant price hikes and markups on new electric vehicles, many automakers have begun slashing prices. Tesla walked back some of its recent price increases earlier this year (and prices have gone up and down a bit since, including up again in China). Tesla’s big cut in January was followed by Ford with the Mustang Mach-E and others. Toyota is now on board, but only in China, with price cuts to the brand-new bZ4X electric SUV.
CarNewsChina reported that Toyota cut the base price of the bZ4X by $4,300 in China. The 15% drop takes the starting price to the equivalent of $24,800, making the SUV significantly less expensive than the $42,000 American buyers pay. The publication also noted that buyers could upgrade with a solar charging module that adds almost 1,100 miles of range per year for an additional $2,800.
Chinese buyers are keen on EVs, which accounted for 20% of the vehicle market there last year. Toyota holds one quarter of 1% of the action, so the price cuts are understandable. The Chinese market is packed with companies like Geely, BYD, Tesla, Xpeng, and others that offer several electric options, though Japanese automakers, in general, are pretty popular in the country.
Toyota has been slow to roll out new electric models, as outgoing CEO Akio Toyoda is a proponent of exploring multiple zero-emissions vehicle paths. The automaker offers a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in California, and company executives have stated numerous times that they feel hybrids and plug-in hybrids are necessary to bridge the gap to an electric future.
Incoming CEO Koji Sato may accelerate Toyota’s EV development. He’s already noted that the automaker’s time to push forward with new EV development has come. That said, state governments in the United States may force Toyota’s hand. California, Washington, New York, and several others have plans to ban new gas vehicle sales starting in 2035, so the time to get on board with new EVs has come.
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