Mazda and Toyota launch EVs for the Chinese market

Japanese independent car manufacturer Mazda has shown its second full-electric vehicle, the EZ-6, at the motor show in Beijing. It was developed with partner Changan and is only intended for the Chinese market.

The same goes for Toyota. The world’s number one car manufacturer presented two new BEV models for the Chinese market at Auto China. The electric mid-size SUVs were developed with joint venture partners FAW and GAC.

Mazda 6 successor

The EZ-6 will be the successor to the previous combustion-powered Mazda 6 saloon, just with an electric drive, although not exclusively electric. Mazda announced that it would offer the saloon as a battery electric vehicle (BEV) with a range of around 600 kilometers and as a plug-in hybrid.

Technical data for both versions are not yet available. A report from Carscoops suggests that the plug-in hybrid will be designed more as a range extender, where the combustion part of the drive is used exclusively to generate electricity on board, like in the MX-30 with a range extender.

Whether it is a PHEV or a range extender, the vehicle still has to accommodate combustion components. From the outside, the new EZ-6 looks like a conventional combustion saloon with a long hood and correspondingly long overhangs, ensuring classic proportions. The typical Mazda design also has a radiator grille (closed on the electric version).

Regarding technology, the Japanese manufacturer relies on a platform from joint venture partner Changan. According to Carscoops, the EZ-6 will be based on Changan’s EPA1 architecture – like the Deepal SL03. This Deepal saloon has a 163 kW electric motor and an LFP battery from CATL, which enables a range of 700 kilometers in the Chinese CLTC standard test.

The SL03’s range extender uses a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated engine to generate electricity and has a 192 kW electric motor. At 4.92 meters, the Mazda counterpart will be around ten centimeters longer than the Deepal, while the width (1.89 meters) and height (1.49 meters) are the same.

Car News China speculates that a Mazda combustion engine could power the range extender version of the EZ-6, for example, the rotary engine of the MX-30. The report also suggests that Mazda may launch a dual-engine version with all-wheel drive and two motors. However, until Mazda publishes the technical data, this remains speculation.

At Auto China, Mazda also presented the Arata, a design concept for an electrified SUV that will be developed into a production model called the EZ-60. Details are not yet known. However, as this model is also intended for the Chinese market, it is likely that the Changan platform will be used.

bZ3C and bZ3X from Toyota

The bZ3C crossover Toyota showed in Beijing was developed with BYD and FAW. It is the production version of the bZ Sport Crossover Concept, which was presented in Shanghai last year. Overall, the design has not changed. The manufacturer only adjusted minor details and replaced the cameras with exterior mirrors.

It was obvious that there would only be a few changes – after all, the concept car was already based on the current Toyota design of the Prius. However, the production model features a lidar sensor on the roof.

The bZ3X was developed in cooperation with GAC. Although the model designation is similar to the bZ3C, it is an entirely different car. The bZ3X SUV has a steeply raked rear window and appeals to a different audience than the bZ3C lifestyle crossover. The corresponding study from 2023 was called the bZ FlexSpace Concept, which already emphasized the space concept at the time.

Toyota has not yet provided any details on the drive systems. However, Car News China speculates that the two new models will have blade batteries from BYD subsidiary FinDreams. The background to this speculation is that FAW-Toyota launched the bZ3 electric saloon in China in 2022 with electric motors and the same LFP cells from BYD.

The market launch of the two electric vehicles is expected in 2025. In China, Toyota seems to be focusing on electric mid-range SUVs. The situation is different in the US, where it is becoming apparent that Toyota will offer two large electric SUVs with three rows of seats.

The carmaker will convert its factories in Indiana and Kentucky for EV production. In Kentucky, a completely new electric SUV with seven seats will roll off the production line, while the Toyota Highlander – rumored to be getting an electric version – is currently manufactured in Indiana.

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