By Steve & Tamami Laser
Late last year, Toyota and Lexus revealed 15 new EV models during a press conference in Japan. The BEV concepts on display included the Lexus RZ, a crossover similar in size to the new Toyota bZ4X, the Lexus Electrified Sport, a next-generation sports car, the Lexus Electrified Sedan, and the Lexus Electrified SUV, a three-row sibling to the RZ.
We don’t know if all of these concept vehicles will eventually reach the showroom. However, we do know that the RZ 450e is set to become the first pure battery EV from Lexus for global markets. Expected to go on sale later this year, Lexus says the RZ embodies a unique vehicle design and driving experience via electrified technology.
“For Lexus, ‘Electrification’ means maximizing vehicle potential through electrified technology, while reimagining the driving experience itself,” said Sato. “The RZ is immediate proof of the transformation that is happening at Lexus. Strong vehicle fundamentals, electrification, and DIRECT4, our intelligent power control system, will further distinguish Lexus’ unique ‘Driving Signature.’”
In the styling department, the RZ delivers a new Lexus aesthetic while establishing a new design direction for its BEV models. RZ replaces the signature Lexus spindle grille with a BEV “Spindle Body” that focuses on style, along with aerodynamics, and optimized proportions.
“Seamless E-Motion” design concept details include a low hood line, with a minimal front grille opening, and an electronically actuated grille shutter to help improve aerodynamics. A roof spoiler, and the ducktail shape of the rear body, contributes to a more stable driving feel, generating downforce and balancing airflow.
The new RZ rides on the e-TNGA dedicated BEV platform, with the battery mounted under the vehicle floor. High-precision motor torque control and optimal battery placement are said to help achieve ideal weight distribution and response.
DIRECT4® all-wheel-drive is designed to take the Lexus Driving Signature to the next level. It features a newly developed high-output electronic axle motor that integrates the motor, transaxle, and inverter within a compact unit. DIRECT4 uses vehicle speed, acceleration, and steering angle sensors to control front-to-rear driving force, contributing to improved start-up acceleration, handling stability, and low power consumption.
Inside, the RZ welcomes its passengers with a refined “omotenashi” hospitality, an airy feeling, and intuitive controls based on the “tazuna” concept.
With its long wheelbase, the cabin provides a spacious rear seat, while the sense of openness is accentuated by an available panoramic roof.
The Lexus-first Steer-by-Wire system is said to elevate the human-machine connection. Offered in the U.S. market “at a future date,” the system enables the electronic exchange of steering and road surface information between the advanced steering control and tires via electrical signal, instead of mechanical linkage.
With its steering angle at about 150 degrees, the driver’s steering effort is reduced, “eliminating the need for hand-over-hand operation at intersections, U-turns, parking, winding roads, and other driving situations.”
Comfort and convenience features include an available Head-Up Display, radiant heaters, and Ultrasuede upholstery. Multimedia systems and connected services planned for U.S. models include the Lexus Interface with a 14-inch touchscreen and accessible voice command.
Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 features include a Pre-Collision System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert, and Emergency Driving Stop System. Available Advanced Park with remote expands parallel parking support with back-up parking, and forward-facing parking.
Note: Pre-production prototype vehicles are shown in this story. Features, specifications, and launch timing for future production models is subject to change without notice
News sources and photos courtesy of Lexus International, Lexus USA, and Toyota Motor Corp.
Story (text commentary) © 2022 CarNichiWa.com