For the next generation of its electric and hybrid vehicles, Lexus has introduced an electric drive control system called Direct4. A purely battery-electric concept vehicle based on this technology is to be presented in the first quarter of 2021.
While Lexus‘ first electric car, the UX 300e, will look similar to its combustion engine counterparts, the Toyota subsidiary says this new concept car is to be recognised as a purely electric car. According to chief designer Koichi Suga, the elimination of front cooling for the engine should result in “exciting new possibilities”.
The core of the vehicle will not be the design, but the battery-electric drive about which the Japanese company has not yet provided key data. On paper, the description of the drive control system reads as being quite conventional, but it is now clear that Lexus is planning with a four-wheel drive model. The system controls the torque distribution of the front and rear electric motors and the distribution of braking power to all four wheels. This would adapt the drive of the front and rear wheels to the respective driving conditions and “the driver’s intentions”.
By the latter, Lexus means that the design of the system should give the driver the impression that they are fully connected to the vehicle. The result is an “ideal balance of predictability and excitement, with powerful, linear acceleration and exhilarating cornering”. The company says that quiet and comfort should also play an important role in the development of the drive.
Lexus says the system includes “a front and rear e-axle, each featuring a high-torque electric motor and transaxle, focusing on optimum drive force distribution”. Lexus thus appears to be relying on axle motors for the upcoming series model. The LF-30 Electrified Concept vehicle, which was shown in October 2019 as a “vision for the next generation of electrified vehicles”, still had four-wheel hub motors.