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Lexus company will reveal one of its models as a plug-in hybrid this year, and its first generation of dedicated EVs by 2022.
The Toyota Group has long been resistant to plug-in hybrid cars (PHEV), preferring to focus on simple hybrids like the Prius until they made the “self-plugging hybrid” a selling point. But environmental regulations are tightening and forcing the Japanese giant to launch into plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles to further reduce the CO2 emissions of its vehicles. Lexus, Toyota’s premium brand, will launch its first plug-in hybrid model in 2021.
This will be a variation of a current existing model. Everything suggests that the NX will benefit. On the one hand, the SUV is technically very close to the Toyota RAV4 series, which has recently been revealed in a plug-in hybrid version. On the other hand, Toyota last year registered the NX 450h + designation, which may be the vehicle’s name, with the European Trademark and Patent Office. Its mechanic technology could be the same as that of the RAV4 plug-in hybrid, namely a 2.5 L four-cylinder combined with two electric motors to provide 306 hp and all-wheel drive, with a battery range of over 70 km in the WLTP combined cycle. A Lexus RX 450h + could quickly follow, Toyota having also filed this name more recently.
Lexus’ latest update comes after the automaker in April announced the sale of a total of two-millionth electrified cars. Lexus sold 19k cars in the first three months, a volume raise up to +4.0% year-on-year. The brand’s overall European hybrid mix was 62%, increasing to 93% in Western Europe. All those sales on the platform were racked up since 2005, when Lexus’ first electrified vehicle, including the original RX 400h hybrid crossover, went on sale. Lexus customers are the most loyal among luxury brands.
plug-in hybrid and electric Lexus in 2022
In 2022, Lexus will add a new 100% electric model to its catalog. Unlike the UX 300e, which is a variant of the UX also offered as a hybrid, the car in question will only be available with a “zero-emission” engine. The manufacturer is still stingy in details but announces that its future electrified cars will benefit from the Direct4 all-wheel drive presented with the LF-Z Electrified concept car. At its reveal, Lexus report that the LF-Z Electrified concept previews design elements destined for future EVs from the brand. Among other features, this is based on an independent electronic torque distribution for each wheel, in association with fully electric steering. Whether the vehicle in question will resemble the concept car, a sleek SUV promising 544 hp and 600 km of range, remains to be seen.
For over 15 years, Lexus has mastered and perfected electrification, culminating in cars that are exciting, performance, and durable.