Besides being one of the largest car manufacturers in the world, Toyota has also dabbled in the marine industry with a handful of boats and small yachts that you may or may not have heard of. However, the bZ4X all-electric crossover—which is the Japanese automaker’s sole EV in the United States at the moment—was never intended to be part of the boat portfolio. But one bZ4X went swimming anyway.
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Novel car controls can be confusing to many drivers
In recent years, automakers have experimented with more buttons, switches, and toggles to shift into reverse and drive than the typical PRNDL stick pattern so many drivers are used to. Car companies are looking for ways to save space inside and cut down on parts. But some of those interfaces can be confusing to operate.
An incident that happened last week at the Blossom Street Pier Ferry terminal in Lynn, Massachusetts saw a white Toyota bZ4X set sail into the ocean after its driver reportedly forgot to put it in Park before getting out of the EV to throw out some trash.
The driver and his passenger were enjoying a nice lunch right on one of the ramps that are used to launch boats at sea from trailers, except they never intended to go swimming last Wednesday.
Gerry Cardona, who was in the passenger seat when the driver left to throw out the trash, said he tried everything he could to stop the car from rolling into the water, but ultimately he had to abandon ship and watch as the bZ4X slowly but surely became one with the sea.
“The car started rolling … I grabbed a snow brush to try to stop it, and it wouldn’t stop,” Cardona said for NBC10 Boston right after getting out of the water. “I did everything I could, I rolled down the window and I climbed out the window, jumped in the water.”
We don’t know why the driver didn’t put the car into Park before stepping out of the EV, but it might have something to do with the bZ4X’s novel gear selector that’s sitting on the center console, although we’re just speculating here.
The gear selector in the Toyota bZ4X
There’s a round dial that the driver has to rotate to the right to go into Drive or to the left to go into Reverse. Pressing on the dial puts the car into Neutral, but to put it into Park, there’s a separate button above the circular selector.
To rescue the electric crossover, local authorities used a small boat to hook the EV to a winch line and drag it out of the water. Nobody was hurt, but the Toyota bZ4X (it’s not a Prius as the news report claims) is unfortunately a total loss.