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Lexus locks in UX300e for Australia

Lexus UX300e small SUV to be first EV from Toyota family in Australia in late 2021

11 Nov 2020

LEXUS Australia has announced the all-electric UX300e small SUV will be coming to Australia in around 12 months’ time, marking the first full-production zero-emissions offering from the Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) family Down Under.


While Toyota and Lexus have both been proponents of electrification in Australia with a broad range of offerings underpinned by TMC’s self-charging hybrid system, no battery electric vehicle (BEV) – or even plug-in hybrid (PHEV) – has been offered Down Under before.


Speaking to local media, Lexus Australia chief executive Scott Thompson said the addition of the UX300e to its portfolio would bring a new type of buyer to the Lexus brand.


“I think it will be a new buyer. Our focus is very much on the portfolio of products, trying to satisfy the needs of all customers – hybrid is a mainstay for us and will continue to be a mainstay for us in terms of affordability and driveability, but there is a specific customer out there who is after this kind of vehicle and we believe the cross-section of all four options (petrol, series hybrid, PHEV, BEV) is where we need to be from an overall Lexus point of view,” he said.


When asked about a PHEV, Mr Thompson said Lexus would have its own global PHEV offering in the near future – most likely to be hybridised version of the soon to be revealed next-generation NX medium SUV.


Mr Thompson added that the UX300e was being introduced not necessarily due to overwhelming customer demand, but because the brand felt the timing was right to finally introduce an EV to the local market.


“I think in terms of our overall hybrid conversation, electrification is a natural progression for us to move into there when the time is right for the car, but we want to make sure that we have the right package to offer for customers in terms of the overall ownership experience, so it’s not just about the vehicle but the overall ownership experience,” he said.


Lexus has not set any sales targets for the UX300e, however the popularity of hybrid among UX sales is currently around 50:50 compared to petrol, which is higher than the around one-third take-up rate of hybrids across the rest of the Lexus range.


First revealed at the Guangzhou motor show in November 2019, the UX300e is underpinned by a synchronous motor mounted on the front axle and a 54.3kWh lithium-ion battery that provides maximum output of 150kW/300Nm. 


This compares with the 126kW/250Nm produced by the aspirated 2.0-litre petrol engine in UX200 grades, or the 131kW on UX250h hybrid variants.


Driving range is pegged at up to 400km, with a full charge taking around 50 minutes on a 50kW DC fast charger and up to around seven hours on a household AC charger.


A unique drive mode is included on the UX300e that allows for four levels of regenerative braking, selectable via the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.


The extra weight of the battery packs has led to a unique suspension tune with a 20mm-lower ride height, while Lexus claims the UX300e has one of the quietest cabins in its class.


Exterior styling remains largely the same, with some small aerodynamic enhancements including specially designed alloy wheels and an underbody cover.


Pricing and specification is still a way off being announced, however Mr Thompson confirmed the UX300e will top the UX range for both price and performance.


Lexus also announced that by 2025, it will offer a hybrid variant in every one of its model lines.

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