Lexus wants to maximise the potential of electrification by not only improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions, but by also delivering a higher level of performance, dynamics and driver engagement.
The announcement was made at Toyota’s Kenshiki media forum in Brussels, detailing Lexus’ roadmap for electrification and the journey to carbon neutrality. It also highlighted some of the innovative design and engineering that will feature in its new generation models.
Acknowledging that ultimately battery electric vehicles will take the lead, Pascal Ruch, TME Vice President in charge of Lexus Europe, said “All future development will be based on the principle of leveraging electrification to reinvent the driving experience. We want our vehicles to be truly enjoyable to drive.”
Lexus, he said, will continue to develop a range of electrified technologies for hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric and battery electric vehicles to meet diverse customer needs and driving environments around the world.
Such technologies include the batteries in the latest Lexus hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. They provide practical, all-electric EV driving capabilities, but are kept compact to avoid penalties of weight, cost and intrusion into the cabin and load space. The same principle is applied to battery electric models, with the smart-sized 71.4 kWh battery in the upcoming RZ 450e SUV set to have segment-leading efficiency of 16.8 kWh per 100 km (approx. 3.7 miles per kWh), giving it an EV range of up to 273 miles (WLTP combined cycle).
The all-new RX hybrid introduces a bi-polar nickel-metal hydride battery, a technology that reduces resistance, giving higher load and unload capacity. This increases output from each cell by 70 per cent, so more power can be obtained without increasing the battery’s dimensions. Lexus is also researching the next generation of lithium-ion batteries and the potential of solid-state battery technology. The bi-polar nickel-metal hydride battery is available on the RX 350h and on the RX 500h, Lexus’s first turbocharged performance hybrid.
Speaking of performance, the Electrified Sport represents Lexus’s vision for a future halo sports car with a battery electric drivetrain. It captures the company’s intention to build electrified cars with an authentic performance dimension. Not only does it look the part, but acceleration from 0-62mph is expected in around two seconds.
Additionally, Lexus have been ilooking to create an authentic BEV driving experience via manual transmission, giving drivers that all-important control and engagement. Takashi Watanabe, Lexus Electrified Chief Engineer, explained: “From the outside, this vehicle is as quiet as any other BEV. But the driver can experience all the sensations of a manual transmission vehicle. It is a software-based system, so it can be programmed to reproduce the driving experience of different vehicle types, letting the driver choose their preferred mapping.”