The Toyota bZ4X drops enormously in value. But why?

We spoke to two automotive experts to find out what’s going on with e-TNGA EV prices.

Toyota bZ4X Toyota bZ4X

Toyota and Subaru products have some of the best resale values ​​of any mass market car. In the luxury world, Lexus vehicles hold their values ​​better than products from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and others. But while that’s true for internal combustion cars, the depreciation curve is different for the brands’ early electric efforts. The Toyota bZ4X, Subaru Solterra and Lexus RZ all fall into that category.

The Toyota and Subaru start in the mid-$40,000 range, around the same price as many competitors like the Kia EV6, Ford Mustang Mach-E, and Tesla Model Y. Despite their solid brand reputation, used examples seem to be rapidly depreciating. Used car buyers can easily find used bZ4X and Solterras in the low $30,000 range. Even more fascinating is that many of these examples have a few thousand, if not hundreds of miles on the odometer. Savvy buyers might find themselves in a slightly used example for thousands of discount stickers.

There are numerous heavily depreciated copies circulating on TrueCar. One 2023 bZ4X Limited cost $50,130 when new. Now, with 5,000 miles on the odometer, it’s listed for $32,673. That is a depreciation of 34.8 percent, despite the fact that it was put into use eight months ago. Things aren’t any better for his luxurious stablemate. The 2023 Lexus RZ450e Luxury cost $65,150 new. Nowadays, low demand on the second-hand market means that this example with 8,000 kilometers has been on the lot for 90 days. The sleek EV now carries a tag of $43,995 and an extended CPO warranty. That is 32.5 percent less than when it was new.

But why?

Toyota and EVs: the history

There is no doubt that Toyota can make great electrified (i.e. hybrid) vehicles. Toyota pioneered the hybrid powertrain in the late 1990s with the Prius. (Honda was first in the U.S. market, but its Insight never made it to the way the Prius did.) Toyota currently offers twelve hybrids and two plug-in hybrids in the U.S. market. Lexus offers seven hybrids and three plug-in hybrids – that’s 24 different hybrids to choose from. Toyota and Lexus buyers have plenty of choices when purchasing a hybrid, from sports coupes to minivans. But what about EVs?

Toyota sold its first electric car in the US in 1997. The RAV4 EV was an electric version of the RAV4 sold to appease the California Air Resource Board. After selling and leasing 1,484 RAV4 EVs in the state, Toyota ended the program in 2003. Toyota revived the RAV4 EV as the 2012 model year through a joint venture with Tesla. Like its predecessor, it was short-lived and production ended in 2014. However, that wasn’t the end of Toyota’s EV journey.

The Toyota bZ4X and friends

Toyota unveiled the bZ4X, its first dedicated EV, in 2021, with deliveries beginning the following year. Toyota shared the bZ4X’s underpinnings (also called the e-TNGA platform) with the similarly priced Subaru Solterra, but only with AWD, and the more upstream Lexus RZ. The bZ4X starts at $44,420 and comes standard with front-wheel drive. It features a 71.4 or 72.8 kilowatt-hour battery pack with a 201-horsepower single-motor setup or a dual motor pushing 215 horses. It offers an EPA range of between 350 and 400 km and a DC power of up to 150 kilowatts.

2024 Toyota bZ4X: Starting at $44,420

  • 201 hp
  • Range from 222 to 252 miles
  • 150 kW charging

2024 Subaru Solterra: Starting at $46,340

  • 215 hp
  • Range from 222 to 228 miles
  • 150 kW charging

2024 Lexus RZ300e: Starting at $55,150

  • 201 to 308 hp
  • Range from 196 to 266 miles
  • 150 kW charging

These specs aren’t worth writing home about. Furthermore, last year’s Solterra and bZ4X only came with 100 kW DC fast charging capabilities. In a real-world charging test conducted by our friends at Out Of Spec Studios, the 2023 bZ4X AWD fell completely flat. It reached a maximum charging speed of 88 kilowatts and took more than four hours to reach a 99 percent state of charge. The bZ4X shouldn’t be your first choice if you’re looking for an electric road tripper.

As for the Lexus RZ450e’s 196-mile range, an independent 70 miles per hour showed a real-world range of just 170 miles. Other EVs, especially some Tesla models, miss the mark in terms of real-world range. In our 2020 Tesla Model Y range test, we saw 276 miles versus an EPA range of 316. A real-world range of 276 miles is a noticeable decrease, but the Model Y is still very usable for road trips. A car with a range of 270 kilometers will not be enough for some buyers. In other words, the e-TNGA EVs offer sub-par range and charging capacity at prices that look insane compared to other electric crossovers.

  • 258 to 456 hp
  • Range from 260 to 310 miles
  • Charging 170 to 250 kW
  • 225 to 576 hp
  • Range from 218 to 310 miles
  • 235 kW charging
  • 340 to 500 hp
  • Range from 307 to 314 miles
  • 190 kW charging

The ultimate depreciation machine

Let’s take a look at the Toyota RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid version of the ubiquitous Toyota RAV4. It debuted as a 2021 model year with a price tag of $39,220 (now $45,040). They have proven to stick to their values ​​exceptionally well. The cheapest example under 50,000 miles in the country is a 2021 example for $32,273 with 44,000 miles. In the two years it was on the road, its value dropped by 17.7%. The bZ4X we referenced saw a 34.8 percent depreciation in eight months.

The Lexus NX450h+ plug-in hybrid has a similarly low depreciation. The cheapest 2023 model costs $55,988 with 26,000 miles. At an original price tag of $62,075, the PHEV Lexus dropped approximately 9.8 percent in value in eleven months. The RZ450e with 11,000 fewer miles saw a depreciation of 32.5 in 7 months. While it’s hard to find models that are exactly the same in terms of mileage and age, it’s clear that these EVs aren’t holding their values ​​well.

“This may certainly seem alarming given that Lexus products generally tend to hold their value very well once placed on the second-hand market. Consumer confidence and sentiment in a ‘used EV’ is probably not as strong as that of a proven ICE or hybrid. product,” wrote Robby DeGraff of the automotive consultancy AutoPacific. “While the RZ is undoubtedly an attractive luxury product for the brand and serves as Lexus’ gateway to an EV future, compared to other similarly upscale EVs, it really lags behind the competition when it comes to range and value.”

DeGraff’s point was about two things: buyer sentiment toward electric cars and the demonstrably poor value propositions of the e-TNGA vehicles. Most buyers considering purchasing an electric car will likely consider the big names Tesla, Hyundai and Kia, rather than Toyota, Lexus and Subaru.

“Consumers may not be as aware of the brand’s EV efforts, which are still in their infancy at this point. Toyota is so synonymous with “hybrids” for many consumers, and it probably will be. This will also be the case in the future,” DeGraff wrote to InsideEVs. “In our latest Future Attribute Demand Study from 2023, in which we survey new car intentions, 41% of future Toyota buyers plan to buy a regular ICE and about 32% a hybrid or PHEV. EV intent among prospective Toyota buyers is only 21%. ”

Furthermore, there are more hybrids and plug-in hybrids floating around on the used car market than electric cars. More options and more consumer confidence with hybrids will keep their values ​​higher. “It’s important to keep in mind that consumers are becoming more excited about electric cars, but not at the rapid pace that automakers anticipated. While EV market share and sales continue to rise year over year and month over year-month, quarter-over-quarter… the majority of consumers, new and used, are still ICE intenders and buyers,” said DeGraff. “We are not quite at a point where there is a huge demand for both new and especially used electric vehicles, therefore prices for used electric vehicles will not be as competitive.”

While EVs are depreciating more, something needs to be said about the e-TNGA EVs. Slow charging times, mediocre range, and subpar performance really set these vehicles apart from their electric crossover counterparts. “Especially because these technologies are evolving so quickly, their value lies in the fact that they are like… a car,” says Doug DeMuro, founder of Cars & Bids. “I guarantee you that within 48 months, maybe 60 months, Solterras will cost $12,000 because they are garbage.”

Verdict: Time to Buy a Used One?

While these crossovers are Toyota and Subaru’s foray into the EV market, they miss the mark everywhere else. As a result, used examples quickly depreciate in value, which is an outlier among vehicles of their respective brands. Electric cars generally depreciate more, so it’s no surprise that non-competing models are losing value quickly. Before you purchase one as a cheap used car, remember that we still don’t know how low they will go. You don’t want to be the one holding the bag at the bottom.

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