Some would say Lexus couldn’t have picked a worse time to unveil its first electric vehicle as all eyes are on Tesla and its futuristic Cybertruck that just debuted in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, it’s still an important moment in the company’s history and the world premiere takes place today at Auto Guangzhou 2019. Why there? Because China will be a key market for the UX 300e, but the electric crossover will also be sold in Japan and Europe.
Gallery: 2020 Lexus UX 300e
It virtually retains the design of the conventionally powered model, right down to the placement of the fuel cap, although we’re noticing its round shape has been changed to an angular and slightly larger cap to make room for the charging port. There are some subtle changes compared to the standard UX, such as the new aerodynamic wheels, 20 millimetres lowered ride height, and redesigned underbody cover to make the vehicle as sleek as possible in a bid to enhance efficiency. Inside, the look of the instrument cluster is the only thing that has changed.
Replacing the internal combustion engine at the front is an electric motor developing 201 bhp and 221 pound-feet of torque. Underneath the body sits the lithium-ion battery pack with a 54.3-kWh capacity and enough energy to last for almost 250 miles based on the NEDC cycle, with the more realistic WLTP rating to follow. Once depleted, it’ll take approximately 50 minutes to completely charge the battery using a 50-kW fast-charger or about seven hours from a standard 6.6-kW household socket.
It weighs about 1,900 kilograms and features a retuned suspension with revised dampers to handle the extra weight. To make sure the vehicle is heard by those around it despite the lack of a traditional engine, Lexus has installed what it refers to as an Active Sound Control (ASC) system that “transmits natural, ambient sounds.”
The UX 300e represents Lexus’ first EV, but more are to come as Toyota’s luxury division is working on a new platform dedicated to zero-emissions cars. The first car to be developed from the ground up as an EV is due early in the next decade when Lexus will also introduce its first PHEV model.
WORLD PREMIERE OF LEXUS’S FIRST EV, THE UX 300E
- The new Lexus UX 300e, the first vehicle to be produced under the Lexus Electrified banner
- The first Lexus EV embodies the brand’s essential driving refinement and quality
- New model maintains the distinctive design and high functionality of the original UX
- World debut at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition in China
Lexus today introduces its first battery-electric vehicle (BEV), the UX 300e, at the 2019 Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition, taking place in Guangzhou, China, from 22 November to 1 December.
Lexus has been a pioneer in vehicle electrification technology since introducing the RX 400h in 2005, taking an industry lead in creating vehicles that deliver both performance and environmental efficiency. At the recent 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, the company unveiled its global electrification strategy, Lexus Electrified, targeting a fundamental leap in vehicle performance, handling, control and driver enjoyment.
In particular, Lexus Electrified technology enables integrated control of powertrain, steering, suspension and brakes, realising the full potential of the motor control technology that has been nurtured in Lexus HVs (hybrid vehicles). With this technology, driving force can be controlled to provide the ideal vehicle posture in any driving situation. Lexus continues to strive to make vehicles that are safer and enjoyable to drive.
As the first production model under the Lexus Electrified banner, the all-electric UX 300e has been developed for excellent on-road performance. Lexus engineers preserved the distinctive design and convenience characteristics of the UX compact SUV, while focusing on the opportunities to build on the performance advantages that are unique to EVs. The UX 300e’s high-output motor provides natural yet brisk acceleration and its high-capacity batteries, located directly beneath the cabin floor, secure a low centre of gravity and allow a driving range of around 250 miles*. Making use of the latest connectivity technology, the UX 300e maximises the potential of an EV while at the same time delivering driving performance and convenience – true to Lexus’s “yet” philosophy.
The UX 300e is scheduled to go on sale in China from 2020 and in the UK by 2021.
Lexus has always focused on providing a distinctive driving performance and that remains true in its development of its first battery-electric vehicle (BEV). Taking the signature refined driving performance of the UX as their starting point, its engineers were able to leverage the qualities of the new electric drivetrain to further enhance the vehicle’s on-road performance. At the same time, the UX 300e has one of the quietest cabins in its class, building on Lexus’s excellent record of sound management.
The Drive Mode Select function allows the driver to manage smooth acceleration and deceleration according the driving situation. They can feel the powerful acceleration and instant torque delivery of the EV powertrain as they press the throttle pedal and use the paddle shifts in a manner similar to engine braking, through four levels of deceleration regeneration – all the while experiencing a natural on-road feel.
The vehicle’s low centre of gravity supports excellent dynamic performance, thanks to both the motor and battery being located beneath the vehicle body, and optimum front/rear weight distribution.
The high performance of the GA-C platform is enhanced with additional bracing and optimisation of shock absorber damping force to the match the dynamic changes that come with electrification.
While EVs are naturally quiet, the UX 300e goes further by adding insulation beyond just that for the battery, suppressing external noises such as wind or gravel that would otherwise be noticeable in the absence of an engine and transmission. This focus on sound management creates a comfortable and tranquil cabin environment.
Engineers also addressed the sound generated when the vehicle is driven. Active Sound Control (ASC) transmits natural, ambient sounds to communicate the driving conditions to the driver and passengers.
Lexus reliability and hybrid heritage
In developing the UX 300e, Lexus made use of the knowledge it has gained in developing its industry-leading hybrid systems, applying the same level of quality and ease of operation it has achieved with all its vehicles in the past. The engineering team has delivered outstanding battery reliability and adopted the latest connectivity technology to maximise the car’s everyday usability and functionality with smartphones.
The efficiency of the motor, inverter, gears and high-capacity battery was maximised, again with the benefit of the experience Lexus gained in developing hybrid vehicles. By improving the performance of the entire system, the UX 300e has an anxiety-free driving range of around 250 miles*.
The batteries are equipped with a temperature management system that operates at low and high ambient temperatures. Reliability is further increased through the use of multiple monitoring systems to regulate charging and prevent issues such as overcharging.
The UX 300e offers the latest in connected car technology. By linking to a smartphone using the LexusLink app, drivers can check battery charge and driving range. Charging controls are included, such as a timer which indicates when a full charge will be reached, and a charging schedule according to when the vehicle is next expected to be driven or when energy prices are low. The app also allows the owner to remotely control the climate of the car.
|Max. output (kW)||150|
|Max. torque (Nm)||300|
|Driving range (miles)||c250*|
|Standard (AC) charge (KW)||Max. 6.6|
|Quick (DC) charge* (kW)||Max. 50|
Distinctive design and high functionality
Lexus carried over the distinctive styling and high functionality of the UX compact SUV to the new UX 300e, developing new aerodynamic wheel designs and an underbody cover. Locating the shift-by-wire system on the centre console contributes to the simplicity and functionality of the interior.
True to the Lexus prioritisation of new, advanced safety technologies and quickly making them available to customers, the UX 300e is equipped with Lexus Safety System+, helping in the prevention of accidents, injuries and fatalities. At the same time, the development of driver assistance systems helps reduce driver stress and promote a more natural and safe driving experience.