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Lexus will launch electric supercar

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Lexus has confirmed that it is working on a production version of its spectacular Electrified Sport sports car.

While laying out its plans to lead the drive to electrification with new technology at the recent 'Kenshiki' preview event, Lexus confirmed that it is actively developing a production version of its gobsmacking "Electrified Sport" concept car. It wouldn't be drawn on a launch date, but did detail some of the advanced technology that may be deployed in the showroom model, including the possibility of a manual gearbox...

A manual electric car?!

There is no technical reason for fitting a manual gearbox to an EV, but Lexus is adamant that it wants to use the move to electrification to enhance the driving experience and it believes that the process of changing gear is key to driver engagement from the point of view of enthusiasts. Lexus has even developed an engineering prototype to investigate, fitting a six-speed manual gearbox, clutch, rev counter and an engine sound generator to a Lexus UX 300e. It can be driven just like a traditional manual car and the idea may be offered on the future electric sports car.

Takashi Watanabe, Lexus Electrified Chief Engineer, explained: "From the outside, this vehicle is as quiet as any other BEV [Battery Electric Vehicle]. But the driver is able to experience all the sensations of a manual transmission vehicle. It is a software-based system, so it can be programmed to reproduce the driving experience of different vehicle types, letting the driver choose their preferred mapping."

Customisable drive-by-wire systems

Lexus has already revealed its steer-by-wire system - 'One Motion Grip' - for use in the Lexus RZ 450e electric SUV and that will certainly make it into the future Lexus sports car, as will brake by wire. Lexus is working on full customisation of these functions so the driver will potentially have the option to set them up to their preferences in terms of response to inputs. By default, the RZ's system alters its operation automatically to enhance agility at low speeds while improving stability at higher speeds. It also makes "micro-corrections" when driving on uneven surfaces.

Another function that debuts on the RZ is called 'Direct4', which alters the torque delivered to the front and rear wheels in all situations, whether that be for traction or using brake energy regeneration to slow a wheel or axle for stability or comfort. It's highly likely that the production version of the Electrified Sport will employ electric motors front and rear to make use of this system. Indeed, Lexus has a 0-100km/h target for the car of just two seconds, which would be very difficult to achieve were it rear-drive only.

Pascal Ruch, TME Vice President in charge of Lexus Europe said: "All future development will be based on the principle of leveraging electrification to reinvent the driving experience. We want our vehicles to be truly enjoyable to drive."

That bodes well for future Lexus models.

When is the Lexus RZ coming to Ireland?

The bad news is that the RZ is unlikely to hit the Irish market in big numbers until the end of 2023. However, Lexus has confirmed its technical specification. Its 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack allows an official range of up to 440 kilometres thanks to an energy consumption figure of 16.8kWh/100km. In a bid to reassure buyers on the longevity of EV batteries, Lexus is also claiming that the RZ's battery pack is expected to retain 90 per cent of its capacity even after 10 years of use.



Published on December 5, 2022
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