The first Lexus electric vehicle will be a rapid, five-passenger SUV with a dramatic shape that previews the future of the Japanese luxury brand. As The Detroit Bureau has previously noted, Lexus and its parent company, Toyota, have not always been enamored by EVs. Toyota’s President and CEO, Akio Toyoda, called BEVs overhyped late last year, and he’s questioned their environmental benefits as countries plan to phase out sales of gas and diesel-powered automobiles.
While the debut of the Lexus LF-Z Concept and Toyota bZ4X show the two brands are moving ahead with full-electric models, their ambitions for EV models is far more muted than rivals like Volkswagen and General Motors. In total, Lexus will have 10 “electrified” vehicles in its lineup by 2025.
Keep in mind that Toyota and Lexus count hybrid models, even those without any electric-only range, as falling into the electrified category. This being said, Lexus’ first dedicated EV will be part of this grouping and promises to have the performance to match competing model like the Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-Pace, and Tesla Model X.
What you see is what you’ll get
In terms of design, the production version of the LF-Z should remain close to the concept. This includes highly sculpted sides, tapering tail, and a grille-less version of Lexus’ signature (and still controversial) spindle grille. The gaping maw found on current Lexus vehicles has been blanked off on the LF-Z Concept – and arguably looks better for it. Similar to today’s Jaguar I-Pace, the LF-Z seeks to bridge the gap between swept-back sedan and high-riding
The cabin of the LF-Z Concept offers fewer hints about what to expect when Lexus’ electric SUV rolls into dealerships within the next 3 years. The driver sits in a pod-like enclosure in which the right-side bottom of the seat sweeps upward and connects to the dash.
No big surprise, the dashboard consists of touch screens, three of them to be exact. And true to concept car norms, the end result looks extremely futuristic, mostly unfeasible for production, and incredibly uncomfortable. Why do concept car seats never have cushions of any sort?
What we know so far
Details like pricing, performance, and range are still under lock and key. While the Lexus EV will be based on the same platform as the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra, very few specifics about these joint-venture-engineered vehicles has been released up till now.
All three ride on versions of the jointly developed e-TNGA platform, and the Lexus variant will certainly have the upper hand when it comes to outright performance. While the LF-Z Concept boasted in excess of 500 horsepower and a range of nearly 400 miles, we expect those figures to float slightly back to Earth in the production model.
A range of 250 to 350 miles sounds realistic, as does a 0-60 mph time of roughly 4.0 seconds – the LF-Z supposedly needed only 3.0 seconds for the same acceleration run. Lexus has stated its electric SUV will feature an advanced all-wheel drive system capable of shuttling power and grip extremely fast from wheel to wheel.
Lexus has said even less about pricing than it has any mechanical aspects of its first dedicated EV (the brand presently sells an electrified version of the UX crossover in Europe). An educated guess would put the production version of the LF-Z around $60,000-$70,000, which is right on point with rivals from Audi, Jaguar, and Tesla.