Lexus presents its first globally available BEV
Lexus has presented the new RZ, its first BEV model available worldwide. The electric SUV is based on the e-TNGA platform and is thus a sister model of the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra.
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The powertrain is already known from the two models mentioned: As in the bZ4X, the mid-size SUV RZ 450e will be available with either a 150 kW front-wheel drive or an all-wheel-drive combining two electric drives with 80 kW each. Lexus calls the all-wheel-drive “Direct4”, but it is likely similar to the Toyota system.
The battery has an energy content of 71.4 kWh and should enable WLTP ranges of around 450 kilometres. Lexus does not specify the maximum DC charging power; Toyota claims 150 kW. Charging to 80 per cent should take about 30 minutes.
Instead of individual technical data, the Japanese company emphasises the character of the RZ and the pure BEV platform’s influence on the vehicle. The e-TNGA is said to enable “outstanding driving performance” the drive uses the “technology cultivated over many years with HEVs”, says Lexus. In addition, the unique BEV design with its aerodynamics should contribute to the driving performance.
Also important, according to Lexus, the RZ has achieved “a balance between sound generation and a very quiet interior”, – which is “the DNA of Lexus”. A sound generator “seamlessly communicates changes in vehicle state to the driver”. Like the bZ4X, the Lexus RZ will also be offered a steer-by-wire system, enabling a “new, stronger human-machine connection”. The highly flattened steering wheel is said to feel like the reins of a horse in hand: The cockpit has been designed around the new concept of “Tazuna”, the Japanese word for “reins”.
“We believe that Lexus, an established luxury car manufacturer, should continue to pursue the development of exciting cars while respecting nature and the global environment to achieve a CO2-neutral society,” says Takashi Watanabe, chief engineer for Lexus’ electrified vehicles. “The RZ was developed with the aim of creating a unique Lexus BEV that feels safe to drive, feels comfortable to drive and is exciting to drive.”
The RZ is 4.81 metres long, 1.90 metres wide, and 1.64 metres high. Lexus gives the wheelbase as 2.85 metres, which is now rather average for an electric vehicle of this size – shorter cars like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 come in at a smooth three metres wheelbase. However, this gives the Lexus RZ classic SUV proportions rather than the Hyundai’s novel look with extremely short overhangs. The RZ, on the other hand, has a relatively long front bonnet and also longer overhangs.
According to Lexus, the side and rear designs are meant to “express the dynamics of electrification technology”, while the exterior colours reinforce the BEV character. Nevertheless, the RZ is immediately recognisable as a Lexus – the designers have dispensed with the usual large radiator grille, but the trapezoidal shape is still clearly visible in the front design.
Lexus has not yet given any information on boot capacity or a possible towing capacity, and prices are also not yet known. However, the Lexus is likely to be positioned above the bZ4X, which can be reserved in Germany at prices starting at 47,490 euros before the environmental bonus.
After the debut electric car UX 300e, which was only available in selected markets, the RZ 450e is the second battery-electric car from Lexus. However, the RZ is the first electric Lexus based on an all-electric platform and does not have to make such compromises as the combustion-based UX 300e.
Moreover, as mentioned, the RZ is to be sold worldwide – and thus be a harbinger of the electric future for Lexus. Toyota’s premium brand is known to want to offer only electric cars from 2035. “We believe that the Battery EV will become the future symbol of Lexus,” said Koji Sato, Chief Brand Officer at Lexus, when presenting the plans in December.
Update 29 April 2022
The Lexus RZ 450e can now be reserved online. Interested parties can book their vehicle, including desired equipment, free of charge and without obligation and secure one of the first production places, as Toyota has announced. Prices will not be announced until the start of pre-sales in autumn.
The final fuel consumption figures should also be known by then, but homologation is not yet available. According to Toyota, the first examples of the RZ 450e will be delivered at the beginning of 2023. Those who register online will automatically be informed by email about further news regarding the order launch.
In the UK, Lexus says: “Once you have placed your pre-order and paid your £500 deposit, your chosen Lexus Centre will be in touch with you.”
With the announcement of the order launch, Toyota has mentioned another interesting figure: The total power of the two electric motors in the RZ is 230 kW. At the presentation, only the individual outputs of the two motors were mentioned (150 kW at the front and 80 kW at the rear). However, these values cannot simply be added up if the battery cannot deliver that much power, but that does seem to be the case with the Lexus.
Pascal Ruch of Lexus Europe gave some more information about the market launch of the RZ 450e in an interview. “Production will start in October 2022, so the first customers should receive their cars this year,” Ruch is quoted as saying, although the company’s announcement talks about early 2023.
“We are planning an annual production of 30 to 35,000 units, half of which will go to our largest market, China,” Ruch told Vision Mobility. “A good quarter to the US and just under a quarter to Europe, which is around 6,000 units.”
Update 22 August 2022
Lexus appears to be preparing a new basic version for its first global BEV model RZ. At the presentation in April, the Toyota brand had introduced the E-SUV only as the RZ 450e, but a trademark application discovered by CarBuzz also points to a future RZ 300e.
If the RZ 450e is the 230 kW all-wheel-drive model described above, the RZ 300e could be one of the 150 kW variants – or Lexus could bring another drive version that is not offered in the two sister models, Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra.
Update 15 March 2023
Lexus has announced US pricing for its RZ 450e. The all-electric SUV starts at $59,650 for the ‘Premium AWD’ variant. The 2023 RZ 450e is built at the Motomachi Plant in Toyota City, Japan, and is available for sale now in “limited quantities”. Prices top out at $65,150 for the Luxury AWD variant, which includes the delivery and processing fee.