Toyota unveils first electric vehicle since RAV4 EV in 2014

DETROIT (AP) — Toyota, the top-selling automaker in the U.S., is rolling out its first fully electric vehicle in eight years.

The company on Tuesday unveiled the battery-powered bZ4X small SUV, which starts at $42,000 and can go up to 252 miles (406 kilometers) per charge.

The bZ4X, which will be sold globally, adds to the 38 electric vehicle models now on sale in the U.S., with more than 120 expected by 2025.

While it doesn’t have ground-breaking range or performance for an electric vehicle, the bZ4X is an important entry because it’s from a trusted brand that will convince some buyers to make the switch from internal combustion engines, said Stephanie Brinley, principal analyst for S&P Global Mobility.

“You’ve got buyers who are interested in checking this out but may not be willing to try a new brand, or leave (Toyota) to go to Chevrolet or Ford,” Brinley said. “As we transition to a market that is more dominated by electric vehicles, the answer is really convincing normally ICE (internal combustion engine) owners to try something new.”


The bZ4X looks similar to and is slightly longer, lower and wider than Toyota’s RAV4, the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. that isn’t a pickup truck. It is Toyota’s first EV since 2014, when it last sold an electric version of the RAV4.

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Like most electric vehicles, it’s fast when compared with internal combustion engine vehicles. The all-wheel-drive version can go from zero to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour) in as little as 6.5 seconds, Toyota says.

Sales will start in states that have zero-emissions vehicle requirements, then spread to the rest of the U.S., Toyota said. The bZ4X will be on display at the New York International Auto Show, where press days start this week. The show opens to the public from April 15-24.

Toyota says it plans to offer 15 electric vehicles by 2025, with seven with the bZ brand, which stands for “Beyond Zero.”

When the bZ4X arrives in U.S. showrooms in May, owners likely will have to hurry to get the $7,500 federal tax credit that would make it more affordable. The automaker expects that sometime before the end of June it will reach a 200,000-vehicle cap on the credits.

After it hits the cap, the credits will be phased out over the next year, reaching zero as Tesla and General Motors already have.

Toyota reached the cap largely by selling plug-in gas-electric hybrid vehicles such as the RAV4 Prime, which can go 42 miles on electricity before switching to a hybrid system that uses an internal combustion engine.

Automakers sold nearly 4.6 million electric vehicles worldwide last year. LMC Automotive, an industry consulting firm, expects that to rise to nearly 7 million this year and to more than 15 million by 2025. Still, that will be only about 15% of global vehicle sales.

Western law enforcement agencies have dismantled an online marketplace used to buy and sell hacked and stolen personal data belonging to millions of people, and have charged the platform’s founder and chief administrator, officials announced Tuesday.

Authorities say the RaidForums website trafficked in hundreds of databases of sensitive data, including credit card and Social Security numbers and bank account information, that had been hacked or stolen from victims.

In addition to seizing three domains that hosted the website, officials have also arrested 21-year-old Diogo Santos Coelho of Portugal, who prosecutors say controlled and administered the platform between 2015 and this past January, when he was taken into custody in the United Kingdom. The U.S. is seeking his extradition to federal court in Alexandria, Virginia ,on charges including conspiracy, access device fraud and aggravated identify.


“The takedown of this online market for the resale of hacked or stolen data disrupts one of the major ways cybercriminals profit from the large-scale theft of sensitive personal and financial information,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr., head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, said in a statement.

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The site, founded in 2015, offered special access and features for members willing to pay and enabled members to earn credits through means that included posting instructions on how to commit illegal acts, officials said.

“Disruption has always been a key technique in operating against threat actors online, so targeting forums that host huge amounts of stolen data keeps criminals on their toes,” said Edvardas Šileris, head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre. “Europol will continue working with its international partners to make cybercrime harder — and riskier — to commit.”

The FBI and Justice Department and other Western law enforcement agencies, including Europol and agencies in Sweden, Portugal, Germany and the UK, were involved in the operation.

Associated Press writer Mike Corder in The Hague, Netherlands contributed to this report.

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