Lexus has updated its Lexus Electrified strategy, through which it intends to develop new technologies that help improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions. The vehicles themselves would achieve a higher level of performance, dynamics, and driver engagement.
The news was shared at the Toyota brand’s Kenshiki media forum in Brussels, where it similarly provided updates on its journey towards carbon neutrality, and the design and engineering of its future models. To realizing the goals set out in Lexus Electrified, the OEM will develop a new global headquarters in Shimoyama, Japan. The new car-centric facility will house its development disciplines – including designers and engineers – as well as drawing rooms and dedicated test tracks.
At the heart of the strategy is the Electrified Sport, Lexus’ concept for a future halo sports EV. Ushering in a new Lexus BEV identity, the EV is expected to accelerate from 0 – 62 mph (100 km/h) in around two seconds. Another key element of Lexus Electrified is the batteries used in the brand’s forthcoming HEVs and PHEVs, which will provide strong all-electric driving capabilities in a compact design – reducing their weight, cost, and intrusion into the cabin and load space. The same approach is applied to its fully electric vehicles, with its forthcoming RZ 450e SUV to benefit from a 273-mile range provided by a 71.4 kWh battery.
A new bi-polar nickel-metal hybrid battery featured on the all-new RX hybrid will work to reduce resistance, enabling higher load and unload capacity. This increases output from each cell by 70%, allowing more power to 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 also available on the RX 350h and on the RX 500h models.
Safety is kept a top priority in these batteries through their design, structure, and a monitoring system that detects any abnormal heating. The use of non-conductive coolant prevents the risk of fire should a problem occur, while the battery design further prevents degraded substances forming on the anode and compromising battery life. Through these measures, Lexus is expecting the new RZ to maintain 90% of its battery life after 10 years of usage.
Within their electrified powertrains, Lexus will introduce new systems that help optimize their dynamic potential – such as DIRECT4 featured in the new RX 500h and RZ 450e models. The Lexus-exclusive technology balances the drive torque delivered to the front and rear axles, enabling optimal traction across various driving conditions, linear acceleration, enhanced cornering, and vehicle posture. In working to cater the EV driving experience to a broader set of customers, Lexus has investigated how a BEV can equip manual transmission. Progressing this investigation into focused development, the brand is now using a research prototype based on a UX 300e SUV fitted with a gear lever and a clutch pedal.
One Motion Grip, a new steer-by-wire system announced at the event, dispenses with mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the front wheels. Set for introduction in the new RZ 450e, it will help reduce the need for hand-over-hand wheel turns, making movement easier and more precise. While improving low-speed agility and highway stability, the system also makes automatic micro-corrections when driving over uneven surfaces.