Lexus, Toyota’s luxury division, is gearing up to launch its first electric car ahead of three all-new models due out in Australia over the next 18 months.
Lexus Australia is planning a wave of new models – including a range of electric cars and three previously unseen models – that will open up new market segments for Toyota’s luxury division.
The Lexus range already offers the option of hybrid drive for every model except LX all-wheel drive – but Lexus Australia boss John Pappas told Australian media this week that a wider range of hybrid and electric cars are on the way.
This is scheduled to begin in May 2023 with the mid-size SUV Lexus RZ450e, the brand’s first dedicated Electric vehicle – and the second electric car in the Lexus range – follows the tire tracks of the small SUV UX300e, which is based on the petrol-powered UX.
As reported by drive In October 2022, the Lexus UX300e is slated to receive a significant range increase later this year, with its 54.4kWh battery being replaced with a 72.8kWh unit, increasing the range to 450km from the current 315km.
Mr Pappas revealed to the media that Lexus will unveil three new models – each in a new market segment for the brand – before the end of this year, before the first Australian showrooms arrive in mid-next year.
“[This year] Globally we’re going to be unveiling three fantastic new models in three new segments… they’re going to end up here in the next 18 months or so,” Mr. Pappas told the media.
The executive did not confirm the identity of those three vehicles — including whether they would be gasoline, hybrid, electric, or a mix of the three.
Lexus will unveil a new large three-row SUV later this year called the TX, paired with an upcoming stretched version of the seven-seater Toyota Kluger called the Grand Highlander (the regular Kluger is known as the Highlander in the US).
However, it is unclear whether the Toyota Grand Highlander or the Lexus TX will be manufactured as right-hand drive – since they are built in the USA with a focus on the North American market.
The designs of both vehicles were unveiled at a Toyota media briefing in December 2021 in a photo (above) showing the future Lexus lineup – including a range of electric vehicles.
Electric vehicles on display included the successors to the LFA supercar and mid-size IS sedan, as well as a large three-row SUV that will likely be positioned between the RX and the off-road capable LX SUVs.
It remains to be seen whether these vehicles will form the basis of the three new models, but the concepts shown in 2021 appeared close to series production.
However, reports from Japan claim that the LFA successor is due closer to 2025 and would be launched with a V8 plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Mr Pappas reiterated plans at Lexus headquarters – and parent company Toyota – to first deploy a range of technologies to reduce emissions and phase out a range of electric cars before becoming all-electric by 2035.
“We expect battery electric vehicles to take the lead, but that will undoubtedly require a holistic approach to addressing challenges, including charging infrastructure and power supply,” Mr. Pappas said.
“Over the coming years, Lexus will continue to develop a portfolio of electrified technologies with hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric solutions to meet the diverse needs and expectations of our customers across Australia.”
“Our first [electric vehicle]the UX300e, launched just 15 months ago, will receive a new battery this year, significantly increasing its range to around 440 kilometers,” said Mr. Pappas.
To date, Lexus has reported 2.3 million hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles sold worldwide over the past 17 years, including 37,000 in Australia.
While the majority of these vehicles are petrol-electric hybrids, the roster also includes the UX300e electric SUV and the NX450h+ plug-in hybrid SUV.
Mr. Pappas described that hybrid vehicles will account for “almost half” of the brand’s sales in 2022, the highest level yet. By 2025, Lexus Australia aims for hybrid and electric vehicles to account for 80 percent of its sales.
Lexus has already announced that it will switch to purely electric drives worldwide by 2035.
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