Lexus unveils forward-looking LF-Z Electrified concept car
Lexus has unveiled an electric concept car to show how the brand will look moving forward into an EV future. The LF-Z Electrified is a dedicated battery-electric vehicle (BEV) platform showcase and is, according to Lexus, a glimpse of what’s coming by 2025.
The SUV-like concept takes the form of a four-door sedan with a near-hatchback fastback rear end, and large wheels to create the appearance of higher ground clearance and more robustness. Although not quite a crossover-style "activity vehicle" in design, the LF-Z certainly can be compared to those. The interior boasts a minimalist approach to create an airy, technologically-advanced feeling. It's a theme common in conceptual vehicles, and which Lexus calls "Tazuna."
The look of the LF-Z Electrified is just the beginning. Underneath is a new vehicle platform for EVs that features four-wheel drive delivered by front and rear motors, which Lexus calls DIRECT4. This system controls each wheel individually for better driving performance. The company says that the core aim with such fusions is to "evolve driving performance in a way that better connects the driver with their vehicle."
The LF-Z Electrified concept has a 373-mile (600-km) estimated range via a 90-kWh liquid-cooled, lithium-based battery pack. Its motors output a total of 536 horsepower (400 kW) and 516 pound-feet (700 Nm) of torque. This translates to a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) sprint of 3.0 seconds. The vehicle utilizes fly-by-wire steering (no mechanical connection), and it incorporates no mechanical drivetrain (transmission, axles) in its design.
An artificial-intelligence-based system in the LF-Z's integrated software learns driver preferences over time, tuning both vehicle responses and concierge-type informatics (navigation, climate controls) to that person’s liking. Lexus calls this system the Lexus Driving Signature.
Other technologies in this Lexus concept include digital keys to allow access to the vehicle without a physical key changing hands. This would allow family and friends to access the vehicle (once or regularly), along with one-off codes for access by delivery or repair personnel. Retractable door handles, à la Tesla, are also found on the LF-Z. Doors will remain latched should the door-opening switch be pressed from inside the car while the Lexus detects oncoming traffic, to enhance passenger safety on exit.
While Lexus has made it clear that the LF-Z Electrified is a concept vehicle, it points the way towards the electrified future the company has planned. Lexus intends to have electrified variants of all of its vehicles available by 2025, an achievable goal given that it was the first luxury manufacturer to have a hybrid model in production; now boasting six in all.
That goal also includes Lexus planning to sell more electrified copies of its models than gasoline-only by that same date. By 2025, Lexus intends to have 20 new or improved models, 10 or more of which will be electrified. The total number of hybrids, plug-ins, and battery-electric versions will vary by region.
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