For some time Lexus has positioned itself as an active opponent of battery EVs (while offering a range of hybrid models). However, times change, and so do corporate strategies. Now Toyota’s premium brand says it will offer a full lineup of BEVs in all categories by 2030, and hopes to be selling only EVs by 2035.
As a first step down the electric road of the future, Lexus has unveiled some details of its first global battery EV, the 2023 RZ 450e.
The RZ 450e uses an EV-specific platform called e-TNGA, and features a lightweight and highly rigid body.
A newly developed eAxle integrates the motor, transaxle and inverter within a compact unit. The DIRECT4 all-wheel-drive system controls front and rear drive force according to driving and road surface conditions. The DIRECT4 distribution control uses vehicle speed, acceleration and steering angle sensor information to control the ratio of front-to-rear drive force between 100:0 and 0:100.
A new pressurization unit enables coordinated front and rear regenerative braking through independent front and rear hydraulic control. The Lexus Steer by Wire system, which will be available in the US at a future date, enables the electronic exchange of steering and road surface information between the steering control and tires via electrical signals.
The RZ offers the latest Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 set of driving aids, including standard Pre-Collision System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert and Emergency Driving Stop System. The available advanced Park feature supports forward-facing, rear-facing and parallel parking.
The 2023 Lexus RZ 450e is expected to go on sale “toward the end of 2022.”
“We believe that Lexus, an established luxury automaker, should continue pursuing the creation of exciting cars while respecting nature and the global environment to achieve a carbon-neutral society,” said Takashi Watanabe, Chief Engineer of Lexus Electrified. “The RZ has been developed with the aim of creating a uniquely Lexus BEV that feels secure to ride in, is pleasing to the touch, and is exhilarating to drive. DIRECT4, the core technology of Lexus Electrified, is all-wheel drive system that achieves quick and linear response according to driver input.”