Pascal Ruch, responsible for Lexus Europe as TME Vice President, says that BEVs (electric batteries) will eventually become the standard. He also emphasizes that in some regions there are still challenges in relation to charging infrastructure and power supply, and that Lexus therefore continues to develop technologies for both (plug-in) hybrid models and BEVs.
The Electrified Sport is Lexus’ vision of a future super sports car with a 100% electric powertrain. He makes it clear that Lexus strives for high-performance electric-powered models. The smooth lines of the Lexus Electrified Sport are inspired by the combination of speed and agility that characterizes aerobatics. These lines are an example of the new design DNA for Lexus electric cars. The Lexus Electrified Sport accelerates from 0-100 km/h in approximately 2 seconds.
The batteries Lexus uses in its latest hybrid and plug-in hybrid offer the practical benefits of electric driving, but they are compact and lightweight. As a result, they have little impact on interior space and payload. This principle also applies to Lexus BEV models. For example, the upcoming RZ 450e SUV has a relatively compact and relatively efficient battery pack of 71.4 kWh. The power consumption of 16.8 kWh/100 km is favorable in this segment. This brings the range up to a maximum of 440 km according to WLTP.
In the new RX 350h and RX 500h, the bi-polar nickel metal hydride battery makes its debut. This technology reduces resistance and thus enables faster charging and discharging. This increases the output of each cell by 70%. In other words: More power can be delivered without having to increase the battery pack. Lexus is also exploring the next generation of lithium-ion batteries and the potential of solid-state technology.
The quality and safety level of the batteries used by Lexus is not only reflected in their design and structure. A system that can detect overheating down to the cell level also reflects this. In addition, the batteries use a non-conductive coolant, which reduces the risk of fire in the event of an accident. In addition, the battery’s design ensures that deposits cannot form on the anodes, which limits the battery’s lifetime. Because of these and other measures, Lexus says it is confident that the battery capacity in the RZ will still be 90% after 10 years of use.
DIRECT4 and One Motion Grip
DIRECT4 is a system that optimizes the dynamic potential of electrified powertrains. The secret lies in the fast, variable distribution of traction between the front and rear axles. According to the manufacturer, this results in optimal traction under all conditions, linear acceleration and precise handling. According to Lexus, the system also contributes to extra comfort, especially for rear seat passengers.
One Motion Grip stands for steer-by-wire steering. With this system, there is no mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the front wheels. One Motion Grip debuts on the RZ 450e in Q4 2023. It changes the riding experience by eliminating the need to “grab” the handlebars; steering becomes easier and more precise. In addition, according to Lexus, the system improves low-speed steering dynamics and highway stability. When driving on uneven surfaces, One Motion Grip automatically performs micro-corrections.
EV with manual transmission
Because a manual gearbox was previously seen as synonymous with driving pleasure, Lexus investigated whether an electric car could be equipped with it. A research model of the UX 300e with gear lever and clutch pedal served as the test vehicle. Takashi Watanabe, Chief Engineer at Lexus Electrified: “This UX 300e is as quiet from the outside as any other electric car, but the driver can experience all the sensations of a manual car. This is due to special software that can reproduce the driving experience of different types of vehicles. The driver can select the preferred option.”
With the DIRECT4 and One Motion Grip systems, which are also software-based, Lexus is able to explore new possibilities that lead to a more personalized driving experience for each driver.