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30th March 2021
The debut of the Lexus LF-Z Electrified concept signals future initiatives and the start of an era of brand evolution for Lexus. The new Lexus LF-Z Electrified concept incorporates driving performance, styling and technologies that Lexus plans to realise by 2025. It will further advance the Lexus Driving Signature, bringing together expertise gained in performance car development with new opportunities offered by electrified powertrains to give the driver exceptional responsiveness and a sense of being fully connected with their car.
The LF-Z Electrified delivers this through its use of advanced technologies and a dedicated EV platform. For example, it achieves superior dynamic performance, thanks to the ideal location of the battery and electric motor, DIRECT4 all-wheel-drive technology and other features that ensure a high degree of mobility freedom that sets it apart from conventional vehicles. It also provides advanced infotainment functions that will be available to Lexus customers in the near future.
By 2025, Lexus will introduce 20 new or upgraded models, including more than 10 battery-electric (BEVs), plug-in hybrid electric (PHEVs) and self-charging hybrid electric (HEVs) to meet the needs of different countries and regions around the world. It will strengthen its core saloon and SUV ranges and also explore the possibility of introducing new vehicle types, such as sports models, cars appropriate for chauffeur driving and models in entirely new categories.
Lexus intends to offer electrified versions of all its models by 2025, by when it also expects electrified vehicles to account for more than half its global sales. It further aims to achieve carbon neutrality throughout the entire lifecycle of all its models by 2050, including in materials manufacturing, parts and vehicle logistics and disposal and recycling. In addition to the careful selection of the materials used in its vehicles, Lexus will also consider the environmental impact of how those materials are made.
The LF-Z Electrified previews the future of Lexus, with design, driving and advanced technologies that will feature in new models to be introduced by 2025.
Its use of a dedicated EV platform is a fundamental step in realising the Lexus Electrified goal of “using electrification technology to achieve a significant evolution in basic vehicle performance.” The new DIRECT4 all-wheel drive control system also sets the concept apart from conventional vehicles.
By combining the electrification and motion control technologies it has developed over the years, Lexus aims to deliver the Lexus Driving Signature with a driving experience that builds a better, direct connection with the driver.
The exterior bodywork is deeply sculpted, accentuating an emotional appeal that is intrinsic to Lexus, while mounting the high-output electric motor at the rear contributes to dynamic and agile performance.
The interior is an open and minimalist space, featuring a Tazuna cockpit design that’s tailored to the specific qualities of EV driving and embracing the human-centred philosophy that has been at the heart of Lexus throughout the brand’s history.
The vehicle’s artificial intelligence (AI) uses dialogue with the driver to learn their personal preferences and behaviour characteristics, enabling it to make helpful suggestions such as details about route guidance and destination information. It will also add to the driver’s peace of mind by considering safety issues during the journey.
The Lexus Driving Signature gives the driver a sense of being seamlessly connected to the car’s acceleration, deceleration and steering at all times, with prompt linear responses that are faithful to their inputs and intentions.
The design and engineering of the LF-Z Electrified produces this driving quality, having ideal inertia characteristics thanks to the optimal location of the battery and motor. Electrification means the car’s packaging is not constrained by the driving of the wheels through the engine and transmission, an evolution in basic vehicle operation that helps the Lexus Driving Signature to be realised.
Positioning the battery longitudinally beneath the floor makes for a more rigid vehicle structure, lowers the car’s centre of gravity and helps absorb noise and vibrations from the road surface. This approach further raises the level of quietness and ride comfort – long-established hallmarks of Lexus vehicles – and also makes for a more spacious and comfortable cabin.
Lexus’s new DIRECT4 system allows for free, independent control of the high-torque motor’s drive force to all four wheels. It will adapt to provide front, rear or all-wheel drive as appropriate to any driving situation, helping control vehicle posture. It responds to the driver’s use of the accelerator and steering wheel to give powerful acceleration and cornering performance, perfectly aligned with the driver’s intentions.
The steering is by-wire, so there is no mechanical connection to the steering shaft. This gives a more direct correlation between steering operation and driving force so the vehicle can turn with less steering angle in response to the driving conditions. The driver will experience the benefits of this advanced technology with greater steering precision that matches their intentions. The fully electronic system also filters out unwanted vibrations from the road surface, while communicating the necessary steering feel to give and exhilarating drive.
The LF-Z Electrified is a study concept that previews how Lexus design will evolve, aiming for a simple and captivating shape rooted in strong proportions and a distinctive appearance. The overall form comprises a smooth cabin section with a low nose and a peak at the rear – a design characteristic unique to EVs. The large diameter wheels are pushed out to the corners of the vehicle, helping lower the centre of gravity and creating a wide stance.
The designers have taken up the challenge of evolving the iconic Lexus spindle shape to realise a new “spindle body,” creating a new expression of the vehicle’s architecture. The design also references the performance of the DIRECT4 system with seamless, dynamic changes in the surface of the doors from the front to the rear and eye-catching treatment of the wheel arches.
At the rear, a clean and simple horizontal design combines with a shape that emphasises the wheels to generate a powerful stance. The slim, horizonal rear combination lights feature a new Lexus logo, symbolising a new generation of Lexus design.
Inside the Lexus LF-Z Electrified, the new Tazuna concept for the cockpit takes Lexus’s core human-centred approach to a higher level. It is inspired by the relationship between a horse and rider, where commands are communicated by the use of the reins, interpreted here by the close co-ordination of switches on the steering wheel and a head-up display. This allows the driver to access vehicle functions and information intuitively, without having to move their line of sight and while keeping their attention on the road ahead.
The cockpit is the heart of the vehicle, while the instrument panel and other elements are positioned relatively low down in relation to the occupants. This creates a refreshing sense of openness and the welcoming omotenashi quality of a hospitality space where every detail has been carefully considered.
A seamless connection from the cowl to the front and rear doors gives the space a clean and high-quality feel. The glass panoramic roof adds to the feeling of openness throughout the cabin.
Driver information sources, such as the augmented reality (AR) head-up display, gauges, multimedia touchscreen and other elements, are contained in a single module, while driving system controls are grouped around the steering wheel. This layout suggests the direction next generation Lexus interior styling will take, with the forward view expanded and the driver’s line of sight naturally drawn forwards.
The Lexus LF-Z Electrified’s artificial intelligence (AI) provides constant support and takes an active role by learning the driver’s preferences and behavioural characteristics. Voice communication contributes to the ease of driving. The voice recognition function uses the latest AI to recognise, learn and adapt to the driver’s habits and preferences, giving support with tasks such as planning driving routes and providing destination information. This interactivity will build a dialogue between the AI and driver, improving the driving experience and providing support like a lifestyle concierge.
A digital key gives family and friends access to the car without having to share a physical key. Vehicle functions can also be operated using a smartphone, such as door locking and unlocking. By giving service providers access to the vehicle via the digital key, drivers can enable services such as package delivery to the car and car sharing.
The doors use an E-Latch system. When the driver or a passenger approaches the car carrying a key, the retractable door handle automatically presents itself; the door can then be unlocked and opened smoothly simply by touching a sensor inside the handle. To exit the car, the door can be opened by pressing the door opening switch. Sensors on the vehicle monitor the surrounding area and warn of an approaching vehicle or cyclist, reducing the risk of an accident when getting out of the car.
The panoramic roof is made of electrochromic glass that can be dimmed when required and has functions for privacy and illumination that reflects the night sky. A touch panel in the centre of the roof allows front and rear occupants to communicate with each other, while the rear seats have massage and recline functions.
A next-generation Mark Levinson audio system reproduces the sound quality of international concert halls within the car’s acoustic space. Precise control of the speakers allows music to be enjoyed by both driver and occupants under ideal conditions. A sound management function with noise cancellation can filter out ambient noises in the cabin, making it easier for occupants to hold a conversation with each other.
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