Lexus has offered its best look yet at the production-ready, all-electric RZ, alongside three new EV concepts that are set to join the company’s lineup by 2030.
The previews – all part of the ‘Lexus Electrified’ program that will see the Japanese marque become all-electric by 2030 – were rolled out alongside 11 other concepts from sister company Toyota in a live stream media briefing on the corporation’s ongoing Battery EV strategy.
Chief among Lexus’ electrification goals is one million EV sales per year come the end of the decade, as confirmed by Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda.
“Lexus aims to realize a full lineup of battery EVs in all vehicle segments by 2030 and to have battery EVs account for 100 per cent of its vehicle sales in Europe, North America, and China, totaling 1 million units globally,” Mr Toyoda explained. “And [Lexus] aims for battery EVs to make up 100 per cent of its global vehicles sales in 2035.”
Among the most notable Lexi on display was a production-ready (or very near-ready) example of the company’s first dedicated battery-driven EV, the RZ. The ‘Z’ stands for ‘Zero’ emissions, while the ‘R’ continues the nomenclature used by the RX crossover and RC mid-sized coupe.
Essentially a premium edition of Toyota’s new bZ4X, the Lexus RZ is expected to sit atop the same e-TNGA underpinnings and rival Volkswagen’s ID.4 and Mercedes’ EQC following its launch early next year. Though the RZ has lost the aggressively raked windshield of the 2019 LF-30 concept from which it was derived, the RZ nevertheless features similarly sculpted thin headlamps, the spindle front grille that funnels into gaping air inlets in the front wheel arches, and cascading roofline. All designed to “capture the Lexus spirit.”
Though technical details have yet to be confirmed – and are unlikely to be before the SUV’s launch – it is speculated that the RZ will feature company’s new DIRECT4 electric technology, which will feature an electric motor on each axle for four-wheel drive purposes.
Alongside the RZ, the most notable concept was a “next-generation battery EV sports car”, inspiration for which came from Lexus’ LFA supercar and the development thereof. More specifically, Lexus actually stated that its new EV sports car would inherit “the secret sauce” of the LFA (urgh) and will thus feature a low two-second 0-to-100 km/h sprint time. That, plus a “cruising range over 700 km” thanks, potentially, to the incorporation of solid-state batteries into the drivetrain.
We will extend the driving taste refined this way to other models as we evolve Lexus into a brand centered on battery EVs,” continues Toyoda. “We can position batteries and electric motors to bring more freedom to battery EVs. This freedom will allow us to be more attuned to our customers, such as by meeting the various needs of different regions, the various lifestyles of our customers, and, when it comes to commercial vehicles, everything from long-distance transport to last-mile delivery.”
Other concepts teased during the announcement included a station wagon, a hatchback, a convertible version of the sports battery EV, another large SUV, and six more shrouded models shown only in silhouette.