A new era begins for Lexus Battery EVs and the Lexus Electrified vision
A new era has begun for Lexus battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and the Lexus Electrified vision with the world premiere of the all-new RZ 450e.
As the brand’s first BEV built on a dedicated platform, the RZ heralds the transition of Lexus into a BEV-centred brand.
The RZ also embodies the unique Lexus vehicle design and driving experience brought on by advanced electrification technologies and know-how cultivated over many years through hybrid-vehicle development.
As a result, high-capacity lithium-ion batteries, Lexus-first silicon carbide elements in the inverters and the incorporation of low-loss technologies deliver an estimated single-charge cruising range of 400 km.
Fundamental performance is greatly evolved by using a BEV-specific platform (e-TNGA), adopting a lightweight and highly rigid body and implementing optimal weight distribution through ideal placement of the batteries and motor.
In addition, a new yoke-like steering control and steer-by-wire, along with the new DIRECT4 all-wheel drive force distribution system, enables vehicle control that is faithful to the driver’s every intention – a key trait of the Lexus Driving Signature.
The RZ also features the latest Lexus Safety System+, which incorporates new driver-assist technologies, including the ability to bring the vehicle to a stop and notify emergency services if the driver is drowsy or having difficulty driving.
Lexus Safety System + can also help reduce driver fatigue in traffic jams and activate advanced remote-control parking through a connected smartphone.
Following the recent introduction of the all-new NX, the new RZ aims to establish the design language of the next generation of Lexus by pursuing a unique identity and proportions born from dynamic driving.
The RZ’s athletic design conveys a uniquely Lexus BEV identity with optimised proportions and aerodynamic efficiency.
The elimination of the internal combustion engine results in a new visual identity, with the signature spindle grille replaced by a BEV spindle body that signals the seamless acceleration and dynamic performance specific to BEVs.
The distinct BEV silhouette starts with a low nose and moves smoothly towards the cabin, featuring a rearward peak that contributes to ample rear-seat headroom.
Aerodynamics and driving stability benefit from a distinctive roof spoiler. The ducktail shape on the end of the boot reduces drag and generates downforce for a stable driving feel. The rear features the spelled-out LEXUS logo as part of a clean and simple horizontal design that highlights the wider rear track, accentuating the RZ’s performance identity.
The interior presents a minimalist yet airy and luxurious environment, exuding a sense of refinement, high-quality craftsmanship and functional essence.
Based on the innovative tazuna concept, the cabin advances the human-centred philosophy of Lexus by welcoming occupants with intuitive controls oriented around the driver, ensuring maximum concentration on driving.
The application of shift-by-wire has resulted in a Lexus-first dial shift knob mounted on the centre console.
The RZ’s long wheelbase provides spacious rear-seat accommodation with a couple distance of 1000 mm.
Three types of seat materials are used, including Ultrasuede, a refined material that uses 30 per cent bio-based sustainable materials. An electronic “e-latch” system is used to operate the doors while highly efficient Lexus-first electric radiant heaters, combined with a heat-pump system, ensure passenger ambient comfort. An available panoramic roof provides heat shielding, thermal insulation and 99% UV protection and includes a Lexus-first dimming function, which instantly blocks light according to the needs of the occupants.
The RZ achieves a balance between sound generation and a very quiet interior space – the DNA of Lexus. The underfloor battery functions as a sound barrier, the bonnet perimeter is sealed to eliminate noise caused by turbulent airflow and acoustic glass suppresses other unwanted sounds.
Under the Lexus Electrified vision, Lexus engineers have tuned sound frequencies to the vehicle’s speed and sound levels during dynamic actions such as acceleration.
The RZ possesses impressive fundamental acceleration, steering and braking performance, in keeping with the Lexus Driving Signature – a uniquely Lexus driving experience that aims to achieve predictable, linear response according to the driver’s intentions. The new Lexus BEV adopts high-precision motor torque control, as well as optimal battery and motor placement, to achieve ideal weight distribution and high response.
The new DIRECT4 system takes the Lexus Driving Signature to an even higher level. It uses acceleration, cornering-speed and steering-angle information to automatically adjust front-rear torque delivery and braking force to all four wheels.
The system uses a front and rear e-axle, each equipped with a high-torque electric motor, transaxle and inverter in a compact unit. As each motor is directly connected to the wheels by a single driveshaft, it operates without delay.
The front e-axle is packaged with a short front-rear layout, while the rear e-axle features a low-profile layout for maximum interior and cargo space.
DIRECT4 operation is intuitive and highly responsive, giving the driver a genuine sense of being fully connected with the vehicle. It also provides an ideal balance of predictability and excitement with powerful, linear acceleration and exhilarating cornering.
From standstill and during straight-line acceleration, the system uses a front-to-rear drive-force ratio between 60:40 and 40:60 for minimum vehicle pitch. When the steering wheel is turned, drive force is biased to the front wheels between 50 and 75 per cent for nimble response and excellent steering feel.
When exiting a corner, torque distribution to the rear wheels is increased to between 50 and 80 per cent, ensuring ample traction while controlling vehicle pitch. A new AHB-G (Active Hydraulic Booster-G) independently controls increased efficiency of the front and rear regenerative braking, ensuring it is seamless, direct and controlled under the direction of the Lexus Driving Signature.
A Lexus-first steer-by-wire system contributes to impressive vehicle manoeuvrability and confidence-inspiring performance while blocking out unnecessary vibrations from the tyres and brakes. Optimum steering-gear ratios provide nimble and agile performance on winding roads and high-speed stability on highways.
The compact yoke-like steering wheel greatly reduces the driver’s workload, eliminating the need for hand-over-hand operation, such as for intersections, U-turns, parking and winding roads. It also enabled designers to lower placement of the instrument gauges.
The RZ utilises a Lexus-first dedicated BEV platform (e-TNGA), which offers high levels of stability and ride comfort by mounting the battery under the vehicle floor, contributing to a low centre of gravity.
Lexus gains maximum advantage from the dedicated BEV platform by using technology and know-how derived from its hybrid vehicle development, resulting in a single-charge cruising range estimated at 400 km.
Battery-control technology ensures a world-class battery capacity retention rate of at least 90 per cent after 10 years. An even higher battery capacity is available with a timer charging function that avoids over-charging.
RZ rides on a front MacPherson strut suspension, while its rear uses a trailing arm double-wishbone configuration.
For the first time, Lexus uses frequency-reactive dampers that alter the damping force on the extension stroke in response to road surface frequency input, providing a high level of handling stability without compromising ride comfort.
Available front and rear performance dampers reduce unnecessary body movement and provide more direct response. Laser screw welding, structural adhesives and laser-peening welding technologies combine to improve handling stability and ride comfort.
The RZ is equipped with the latest Lexus Safety System +, including Proactive Driving Assist (PDA) designed to contribute to safe and secure driving by providing support for a wider range of driving situations.
In addition to the Pre-Collision Safety (PCS), all-speed radar cruise control and Lane Departure Alert (LDA) systems, an optional driver monitor provides a warning when it detects the driver is drowsy or looking sideways.
If the system determines that the driver’s posture is severely compromised and that it is difficult for the driver to continue driving, it warns other drivers by flashing the hazard lamps while gently decelerating the vehicle. The system then stops the vehicle in its lane, unlocks the doors and automatically notifies emergency services through the vehicle’s connected technology.
The RZ also features Advanced Drive (traffic-jam support) and Advanced Park (with remote function), based on the Lexus Teammate1 concept.
Advanced Drive2 can support a driver’s perception, judgement, and vehicle operation, thereby reducing fatigue, under certain conditions – such as when the driver is looking ahead and operating radar cruise control and Lane Trace Assist (LTA) during traffic jams (0-40 km/h approx.)
Advanced Park2 offers expanded support, allowing a driver to use a smartphone to manoeuvre their car while standing outside the vehicle.
The Lexus Electrified vision aims to deliver driving exhilaration by providing and expanding a portfolio of hybrid, BEV and PHEV vehicles that exceeds the needs and expectations of a more diverse set of luxury buyers.
The portfolio expansion will see Lexus contributing to the realisation of a carbon-neutral society by offering a full line-up of BEVs in all categories by 2030. Five years later, Lexus seeks to achieve 100 per cent BEV sales globally.
The Lexus RZ for South African introduction is currently under study.
Main specifications of the new RZ (prototype):