Lexus readying first electric car for 2020 launchAug 23rd, 2019
Toyota’s luxury arm is preparing to launch a small electric car. Here’s everything we know about it so far…
Lexus is preparing to unveil its first fully electric car, and it’s likely to be a small hatchback.
While nothing is confirmed so far, we’re expecting to see a near-production-ready version of the new model at the Tokyo motor show in October, with sales due to start towards the middle of 2020.
It’s likely to take design inspiration from the LF-SA concept of 2015, which showed how Lexus’s modern design language could be translated onto a smaller car. Despite being substantially smaller than other Lexus models, the new hatchback should still feature an oversized ‘spindle’ grille. Indeed, the president of Lexus’s parent company, Toyota, told our sister title Autocar that the grille would still be needed to channel air to cool the car’s battery.
Lexus has two routes to full electrification. The first, and most likely, is to use a new set of underpinnings capable of supporting an electric motor – something that both Lexus and Toyota engineers are known to be working on. The second would be to borrow the underpinnings and electric motor of the Mini Electric, which is due to go on sale next March. Toyota already has a partnership with Mini’s owner, BMW, through the creation of the Toyota GR Supra and BMW Z4 sports cars.
For reference, the Mini Electric has a range of up to 144 miles on the official WLTP test cycle – a benchmark Lexus will be looking to match at the very least.
When the new Lexus goes on sale, it will face competition from small electric cars including the BMW i3, new Renault Zoe and upcoming Honda E. And once Lexus’ electric car is available, you can bet it won’t be long before a cheaper model wearing a Toyota badge is revealed too.
Toyota and Lexus have plenty of experience with hybrid cars – indeed, the Toyota Prius is considered to be one of the founding fathers of green motoring – but neither currently has a battery electric car on sale (although there is the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car).
Importantly, Lexus officials see the creation of a new small car as being key to luring non-luxury car buyers into the brand’s showrooms. The new Lexus could also serve as a part-replacement for the ageing CT family hatchback.