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Guangzhou show: Lexus unveils first EV

First all-electric Lexus is a 150kW/300Nm version of UX small SUV with 400km range

22 Nov 2019

LEXUS unveiled its first fully electric vehicle at the Guangzhou motor show in China this week, swapping out a combustion engine in its UX premium small SUV for an electric motor and lithium-ion battery combination that delivers 150kW of power and a driving range up to 400km.


Dubbed the UX300e, the zero-emissions variant will go on sale in China and Europe next year, with Japan and other “select markets” – one of which is expected to be Australia – coming on stream in 2021.


The luxury arm of Toyota Motor Corporation also announced at the show that it will launch its first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) in 2021 and, in conjunction with TMC, is developing a dedicated platform for battery-powered models that will enable it to offer an electrified variant across each of its global model lines by 2025.


Initial specifications show that the ‘4KM’ front-mounted synchronous electric motor in the UX300e produces 300Nm of torque, while the 54.3kWh battery – located underneath the cabin floor – takes about 50 minutes for quick DC charging (up to 50kW) when fully depleted, and about seven hours in a household AC application (up to 6.6kW).


The claimed 400km driving range is based on the NEDC standard.


Lexus says its engineers took the conventional UX250h petrol-electric hybrid variant and developed it to achieve “maximum efficiency for the motor, inverter, gears and battery”.


The EV has unique Drive Mode Select functionality that includes four levels of deceleration regeneration, operated using paddle shifters on the steering wheel.


The suspension was retuned in an effort to provide equivalent steering response and ride quality to that of the UX250h, while the Japanese car-maker claims that its handling goes up a notch with the lower centre of gravity afforded by the electric motor and battery placement.


The vehicle’s ground clearance is 20mm lower, and the roof has a 5mm higher peak.


According to Lexus, the combined effect of its chassis modifications – which include additional bracing and optimised shock absorber damping force – enhances the already high dynamic performance provided with the GA-C platform that underpins the UX and other models such as Toyota’s C-HR.


Aerodynamics are said to have improved, too, helped by specially designed alloy wheels and an underbody cover.


The all-electric UX is also billed as having one of the quietest cabins in its class, helped by extra insulation applied to suppress wind and road noise that would be otherwise noticeable with the absence of an engine and transmission.  


This is further aided by an ‘Active Sound Control’ (ASC) system that transmits “natural ambient sounds to allow for understanding of driving conditions, and provides a natural feeling for the cabin’s occupants”.


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