The Lexus RZ 450e is the company's first purpose-built electric vehicle, a brand new battery-electric SUV. It's not just a car that uses batteries instead of an internal combustion engine; in keeping with the Lexus Electrified ethos, it also takes advantage of other cutting-edge technologies to improve performance and the quality of the driving experience.
The Lexus RZ 450e is, first and foremost, a Lexus with all the precision and power expected from the brand. The company has leveraged its extensive expertise in vehicle electrification to provide the advantages of a BEV while providing the essential refinement and driving experience unique to its brand. Some examples of this include the front and rear e-Axles that work in tandem with Lexus' new DIRECT4 all-wheel drive torque control and the optional steer-by-wire steering with a new One Motion Grip yoke. A dedicated new electric vehicle platform with excellent body rigidity, a low center of gravity, and a long wheelbase ensures safe and responsive driving. The chassis incorporates a powerful lithium-ion battery pack beneath the cabin floor. This battery pack's quality is carefully monitored to ensure consistent performance over time.
Additionally, the platform and battery-electric drivetrain allow for more creative potential. The exterior is a modern reinterpretation of the classic Lexus spindle shape. At the same time, the interior is a bright and open space that manages to be both simple and luxurious, showcasing Lexus Omotenashi hospitality and Takumi craftsmanship.
The RZ's zero-emissions performance will aid Lexus in its efforts to become carbon neutral and contribute to a sustainable mobility society. Here, we consider the car's performance across its entire lifecycle, from the initial stages of sourcing and manufacturing to the final stages of recycling. At the RZ production center at Lexus's Motomachi plant, where the most pollution is made, new ways of doing things have already been implemented.
Lexus plans to transition to a 100% BEV brand in Western and Central Europe by the year 2030, and the Lexus RZ 450e is the next step in that direction. Beginning April 20, European customers will be able to place orders for the new model, with deliveries starting toward the year's end.
Lexus has used the freedoms afforded by BEVs to design a vehicle that looks very different from traditional cars but still represents the Lexus "Next Chapter" design. This design philosophy strives for an original appearance and proportions, conceived in the context of the vehicle's sporty handling.
The "seamless E-motion" design concept was chosen to convey the BEV's authoritarian personality and seamless acceleration. The result is a clean, straightforward design that shows the spirit of technological progress, power, and practicality.
The RZ's distinctive frontal design strongly identifies it as a BEV. Considering there is no need for an engine, we were able to lower the bonnet and narrow the air intake. Lexus vehicles have been easily recognizable throughout the past decade by their spindle grilles. With the RZ, however, the spindle shape has evolved into a three-dimensional form and is applied to the vehicle's body.
The look is emphasized by painting the area that would typically be the grille in the car's body color and then painting the spaces on either side of it black. Because of the increased design freedom, more robust front wings can now be manufactured. A new two-tone design for the outside, which can be ordered as an upgrade, adds to the effect by continuing the black contrast area from the roof to the hood.
The new spindle body is integrated with the headlight units. The main headlight lamps and turn indicators are made less noticeable, while the Lexus L-motif of the daytime running lights is emphasized.
The compact rear end confirms the SUV's comfortable space and strong driving capabilities, while the chiseled front design conveys power and motion.
The Lexus RZ 450e electric car is built on the e-TNGA platform, which houses the battery pack invisibly beneath the floor of the vehicle. A reduced center of gravity improves the vehicle's handling, responsiveness, and balance.
The Lexus RZ 450e is built from metals and other high-strength materials and employs cutting-edge construction techniques to ensure that the joints between these parts are solid without adding unnecessary bulk. This contributes to the ride's precision, responsiveness, and comfort.
The battery-electric drivetrain's quiet operation heightens noise from the road and the environment. The RZ's engineers and designers prioritized a serene and peaceful interior by taking three measures:
- Reducing ambient noise.
- Sealing the vehicle's exterior to keep outside noise out.
- Paying particular attention to how passengers in the back feel the noise.
The engineers also added a more refined version of active sound control, which uses the car's speakers to play sounds that focus on the powertrain's response. This helps the driver feel more connected to the vehicle.
The RZ employs the e-Axle, a technology debuted by Lexus in the UX 300e. A motor, transmission, and electronic control unit (ECU) are all housed in a small, modular package between the driven wheels. The RZ has them in the front and back, and they work with the DIRECT4 all-wheel drive control system (more on that later) to change the vehicle's stance, traction, and power distribution based on how the road is.
Electric axles are silent, efficient, and effective at transmitting force. With the front motor producing 150 kW and the rear engine producing 80 kW, the combined output is 230 kW. Optimized rotor and stator designs give both a higher power density. Their small size helps the vehicle fit into its space by making room for the passenger area, the cargo area, and the electric vehicle battery.
When combined with the RZ's two e-Axles, Lexus's new DIRECT4 system makes its production debut. The intelligent DIRECT 4 system is unique to Lexus vehicles and works to maintain a constant equilibrium between the traction of all four wheels. As a result, performance and handling are stress-free, and the driver feels more connected to the vehicle thanks to the controls' intuitive design.
DIRECT4 uses sensors in the engine control unit (ECU) to collect, analyze, and respond to information like vehicle speed, steering angle, and G forces. Based on these parameters, it instantly applies the ideal drive torque to each e-Axle, thereby maximizing grip and traction. In milliseconds, the front/rear torque bias can be changed from 100 to 0 or 0 to 100.
The Lexus RZ 450e is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack consisting of 96 cells, producing a combined 71.4 kWh. It is an integral part of the base and can be found directly beneath the cabin. Its placement helps keep the car's center of gravity low.
A significant factor was how long the battery would last and, more specifically, how well it would still function after being driven 10,000 times. Lexus has a lot of experience with battery management technologies, so the company thinks that the RZ's battery will keep more than 90% of its capacity for as long as the warranty lasts.
Lexus believes that the RZ 450e will have a combined WLTP cycle range of more than 400 kilometers, but more information about driving range and battery charging times will be released at a later date.
The Range mode is one of the available RZ drive modes, and it's designed to help drivers get the most out of their vehicle's range. ECO+ saves even more energy than ECO mode by making more changes to the car's settings, such as speed limits, a new power distribution program, and turning off the climate control system.
By aiming for less than 18 kilowatt-hours per 100 kilometers traveled, the RZ is one of the most energy-efficient BEVs available. This is made possible by the vehicle's lightweight, high battery capacity, and high performance.
One of the most notable cutting-edge innovations in the Lexus RZ is the One Motion Grip steer-by-wire system. The inputs from the steering wheel and the wheels are communicated without using a mechanical link or a conventional steering column but through an electrical connection. This allows for quicker reactions and more delicate manipulation of the steering wheel.
Additionally, the driver will experience less steering wheel sway on rough roads, improved control and correction in high crosswinds, and superior straight-line performance on sloped surfaces.
Trust and command behind the wheel depend on a satisfying steering feel. Lexus engineers have ensured the system always gives the driver plenty of feedback and sensations, keeping them very connected to their vehicle. If the main power goes out, the system still has backup processors and energy in an emergency.
The RZ's cockpit is a refinement of the Tazuna design. In this way, the driver's position at the wheel is combined with the meticulous layout of the meters, controls, and displays to create an environment where the driver needs only make minute movements of the hands and eyes to control the vehicle. With the optional One Motion Grip (described above), the benefits of the Tazuna driver cockpit philosophy can be fully realized.
The instrument panel has been lowered, and the dials, head-up display, and 14-inch multimedia display have been strategically placed to maximize the driver's forward visibility. The designers also interpreted the BEV performance into a sleek and minimalist appearance with fewer elements and less ornamentation while maintaining the use of high-quality materials. A brand-new dial-style control controls the shift-by-wire system in the center console, which fits in with the car's overall simple design.
The interior is meant to be airy and bright, with the help of ambient lighting that comes in a wide variety of colors to suit the passenger's mood. Lexus has also made a brand-new lighting effect that uses patterns of light and shadow to make the door panels look different.
A panoramic roof can be added to make it feel more open and bright. When it's cold outside, the Low-E (low-emissive) coating on the glass reflects the sun's rays and keeps the cabin warmer, while on sunny days, it reflects infrared radiation and lowers radiant heat. Electric dimming allows the roof to go from see-through to opaque at the touch of a button, blocking out the sun.
The Lexus RZ 450e features Lexus' e-Latch, a silent and straightforward electronic door unlocking system, which the Blind Spot Monitor activates. It stops the door from opening if it detects a vehicle or cyclist approaching from behind. As the first thing of its kind, it could prevent 95% of all door-opening accidents that cause injuries.
A digital rear-view mirror can also be used to see behind the vehicle without obstructions, such as headrests or luggage, and to see more clearly at night or in bad weather.