Lexus is part of Toyota, and just like its parent brand, it has not invested as much into electric vehicles as other names. It currently has two electric models on offer, only one of which is a bespoke EV, but according to a new report, it has huge ambitions to sell 1-million per year by the end of the decade.
The manufacturer created a new division within the company called Lexus Electrified, and tasked it specifically with coming up with a plan for it to go electric. This was announced in 2019, along with a series of design studies that hinted at a new range of very sporty electric vehicles - the first of these to be launched is a spiritual successor to the original Lexus LFA, previewed by the Electrified Sport concept.
Automotive News quotes Takashi Watanabe, chief engineer of Lexus Electrified and also formerly the chief engineer behind the LC coupe, who explained how Lexus wants to go petrol-free and some of the challenges it has faced so far. He said:
It is an extremely difficult challenge to shift everything to BEVs and maintain a sustainable business. We need to reduce the cost of the battery and innovate the entire car manufacturing process.
Gallery: Lexus RZ 450e 2022
Another difficulty facing Lexus is finding a manufacturing location for its future EVs - it will inevitably work with Toyota, and models that share underpinnings will be built alongside (just like the new RZ 450e, which shares its e-TNGA platform with the Toyota bZ4x and the Subaru Solterra).
Lexus is also reportedly considering building new factories for its new EVs, as well as building them in the same locations where it already produces hybrids today. In the second situation, Lexus would just need to add a separate line where a large battery pack could be married with the rest of the car, but it would be easier than converting a facility that does not already build some kind of electrified vehicle.
Currently, Lexus builds two EVs: the front-wheel drive UX 300e with a 54.3 kWh battery pack, but perhaps more interesting is the new RZ 450e (pictured). It may be related to the Subaru and the Toyota, and it draws from the same 71.4 kWh battery pack, but it is quite a bit more powerful, as well as more restrained and elegant looking than its fussy mass market cousins.