The shift to electrification deserves nothing less than the keenest attention to detail. It is with this belief that Lexus’ first battery electric vehicle (BEV), the RZ450e, was designed from the ground up. The intention is not simply to deliver the benefits of zero emission, all-electric driving, but to capture the potential of BEVs to reinvent the driving experience.
Rather than adapting an internal combustion vehicle platform to accommodate a BEV powertrain, building a car on an all-new battery electric platform opens up new design opportunities.
A dedicated BEV look
The new, dedicated BEV platform and electric powertrain give the RZ a lower center of gravity and allow for a lower nose profile. These allow the RZ to have a sleeker-looking cabin section that still offers optimum headroom for even the rear passengers. Without the need for drive axles connected to the engine, the wheels and motors can also be pushed out to the corners, giving the vehicle shorter overhangs, a longer wheelbase, better handling, and more interior legroom. The allows the RZ to maintain the size of a mid-size SUV, while offering the interior space of a larger sedan or SUV, and the performance of a sports car.
These have also paid dividends in the design department. From the side view, the design begins with a low nose profile, flowing toward a rearward peak in the roofline. This look creates volume around the front wheels, illustrating the power in the front axle, while the rear wheels gain a “torqueful” look. The doors have contrasting forms and striking surface treatments, creating a seamless visual sweep from front to rear.
The front façade bears the familiar spindle grille shape more deeply integrated into the complete frontal design, generating a stronger three-dimensional effect. Because an electric powertrain requires less cooling airflow than a combustion engine, the area is instead finished in the car’s body color. The new-design headlight units are unified with the spindle body. Combined with the blacking out of the bumper corners, they add emphasis to the central spindle shape, establishing a distinctive Lexus BEV look.
The rear presents a cool, high-tech look with a split roof spoiler that extends the design’s rearward flow and contributes to the car’s stable performance. The elongated LED light bar across the width of the car wraps around the muscular rear quarters with an exceptionally thin center section.
The interior is a light and open space that is both simple and luxurious, expressing Lexus Omotenashi hospitality and Takumi craftsmanship. The RZ’s cabin has an open, spacious and airy feel with a driver-focused cockpit. Lexus has introduced a number of human-centred advanced technology features that enhance comfort, convenience and life on board.
The RZ’s cockpit brings together the driver’s position at the wheel and a precise arrangement of meters, controls and displays to create a space where the driver needs only to make small movements of the hand and eye to operate the vehicles. The layout of the controls and information sources – 14-inch center multimedia display, meters, multi-information display and head-up display – require minimum hand and eye movement to reach, operate and read.
The meters in the instrument binnacle can be customized to suit the driver’s preference and their appearance automatically changes according to the drive mode selected. Drivers are welcomed by name (as registered with their smart key) and an animation sequence begins.
The seats feature Lexus’ global architecture frame design and are upholstered with “deep-hung” seams to promote more comfortable support and posture on long journeys with integrated heaters. The rear seatbacks have a two-stage recline function.
The touch-sensor switches on the steering wheel can be customized to operate the driver’s preferred functions, such as drive mode, navigation and audio. Although they work using electronic signals, they have a satisfying “click” feel to confirm operation.
The cabin atmosphere is enhanced by an ambient lighting system with a spectrum of 64 colors, grouped in 14 different themes to create the right mood for the journey.
Three interior color combinations are available - hazel, grayscale, and orage (a shade of blue) - each creating a different ambience.
Power via compact electric e-Axle
Propelling the RZ is Lexus’ new e-Axle, designed for use in BEVs. This is a compact, modular package which consists of a motor, gearing and an ECU, located between the driven wheels. The RZ uses both front and rear eAxles, which work in conjunction with the DIRECT4 all-wheel drive control system to adjust the vehicle’s posture, traction and power distribution, according to the driving conditions. The e-Axles are quiet, efficient and deliver precise power.
The e-Axls produce a combined 312 hp maximum output. They are powered by a long-life 71.4 kWh lithium-ion battery expected to retain at least 90% of its capacity after 10 years of driving. The RZ achieves excellent energy efficiency, with consumption rated at 16.8 kWh or 18.7 kWh per 100 km (381 – 425-km per full charge).
The RZ comes with a 2kW emergency charger and cable and 7kW wallbox charger upon purchase of the vehicle. Battery recharging when connected to a three-phase power supply takes around six-and-a-half hours; using a one-phase supply the time is around 10 hours; connected to a DC fast-charging system, an 80% recharge can be accomplished in about 30 minutes.
DIRECT4 all-wheel drive control
All four wheels are powered by DIRECT4, an exclusive Lexus technology, that constantly and seamlessly balances the drive torque between the front and rear axles. The result is stress-free performance and stable handling, with intuitive operation strengthening the sense of connection between driver and machine. The system uses ECU sensors to collect, evaluate and react to a range of factors, including vehicle speed, steering angle and G forces. From these inputs, it calculates and immediately applies the appropriate drive torque to each e-Axle to maximize grip and traction suitable for the road surface.
In addition to all of these features, the RZ 450e also comes with all the premium safety features expected of a luxury vehicle. These include a Pre-collision system, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert and Lane Tracing Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Camera Detection, Advanced Park, Lexus e-latch with Safe Exit Assist for the doors, and a Panoramic View Monitor. These are in addition to the standard complement of airbags, ABS, Traction Control and other safety systems.
The groundbreaking Lexus RZ 450e retails at P4,828,000, in only one variant. Visit Lexus Manila and Lexus at Mitsukoshi to see the all-new RZ 450e.