As promised, Lexus unveiled the first EV in its history at the Guangzhou Auto Show in China today, only instead of a bespoke model, it’s a battery-electric version of its UX SUV dubbed the UX 300e.
Despite being at the forefront of hybrid technology, both Lexus and parent company Toyota have shied away from battery-electrics. This has now changed, as the two companies have embraced electrification, along with the rest of the industry, and the UX 300e is the first step in the Japanese luxury “Lexus Electrified” initiative.
Based on the subcompact SUV that was launched last year, the UX 300e sports a 201 HP (204 PS) electric motor placed up front and a 54.3 kWh lithium ion battery that provides a maximum range of 400 km (248 miles) as per the NEDC standards, which should be enough to relieve prospective owners of range anxiety. Moreover, the placement of the battery pack underneath the floor helps lower the center of gravity and, along with the additional braces and the optimization of the shock absorbers’ damping force to the specific model, further enhance handling characteristics.
Apart from the model-specific wheels, which along with a flat body undertray improve aerodynamic efficiency, and an “electric” badge, nothing differentiates the UX 300e from the ICE or hybrid versions. Lexus hasn’t disclosed any figures yet, but promises that the UX 300e will be “brisk”, while the driver can use Drive Mode Select to tailor performance to their liking and the paddle shifter for no less than four levels of regenerative braking. While the engineers have worked on sound insulation, they have also added an Active Sound Control (ASC), which transmits ambient sounds to give the driver and occupants a natural feel of the driving conditions.
Additionally, by using a dedicated app, drivers can monitor the battery state of charge and driving range of their car via their smartphone. The app also sports a timer function to display when the vehicle will be fully charged, to allow the owner to schedule its charging according their needs, and also enables them to remotely control various functions such as the climate control, seat heaters and window defrosters.
The UX 300e will go on sale in China and Europe in 2020, and in Japan in early 2021.