WORLD PREMIERE OF THE LF-Z ELECTRIFIED: LEXUS’S VISION FOR A NEW ERA
- World premiere of LF-Z Electrified, an electric vehicle concept showcasing a new brand vision for Lexus and what it aims to achieve with electrification
- Lexus to accelerate development of new vehicles to meet the diverse and changing needs of customers around the world
- Twenty all-new or redesigned models to be introduced by 2025, including battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric and hybrid electric vehicles in a wide-ranging product line-up
- Lexus to bring together its technology, design and planning teams to achieve agile vehicle development in a new business and technology centre in Shimoyama, Japan
The global online debut today of the LF-Z Electrified concept signals future initiatives and the start of an era of brand evolution for Lexus.
Lexus has gained a unique market position through the concurrent development of the world’s most extensive range of premium hybrid electric vehicles and the production of the LFA supercar and other thoroughbred “F” performance models. Its hybrid electric strategy has yielded almost two million sales globally since the introduction of the RX 400h in 2005, while today it offers nine hybrid electric and battery electric models for sale in around 90 countries worldwide. Its distinguished record as a technology innovator and world leader in electrified powertrains gives it the perfect platform from which to meet new challenges.
The automotive industry is in a once-in-century period of transformation in which it has to address unprecedented changes in people’s lifestyles and values, delivering mobility while also meeting the urgent social mission of carbon neutrality and embracement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Drawing on its experience and embracing innovation through its Lexus Electrified vision, Lexus will apply its research and development strengths to the maximum to achieve these goals while continuing to exceed customer expectations with premium quality cars that deliver great driving engagement and luxury craftsmanship.
The new 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. Throughout, Lexus will rise to the challenge of delivering new premium values, while exceeding the diverse expectations of its customers worldwide.
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 careful selection of the materials used in its vehicles, Lexus will also consider the environmental impact of how those materials are made.
In March 2024, Lexus will open a new business and technology centre in Shimoyama, Aichi prefecture, Japan, to accelerate the planning and development of new products. This will bring together the teams involved in the design, development and planning of the next generation of vehicles and promote open and valuable collaboration with external partners. This focused approach to teamwork will help increase customer rewards, such as realising the full potential of the Lexus Driving Signature.
Koji Sato, President and Chief Branding Officer, Lexus International
“I would like to express my heartfelt respect to all the people around the world who are working so hard in the face of various difficulties.
“While fulfilling our social mission of realising a carbon-neutral society, we will continue to provide the fun and joy that cars bring, and we will contribute to the happiness and smiles of our customers and everyone involved with Lexus.
“Starting with two new models to be released this year, we will continue to develop innovative products that will add colour to the diversifying lifestyles of our customers.
“We hope you will look forward to the future of Lexus with its strong will to create a future mobility society.”
Lexus LF-Z Electrified principal features
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.
A stronger connection between human and machine
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 an exhilarating drive.
A future direction for Lexus design
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.
New Tazuna Cockpit and open interior concept
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.
Advanced features to enrich the driving experience
The 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.
LF-Z Electrified technical specifications
|Overall length (mm)||4,880|
|Overall width (mm)||1,960|
|Overall height (mm)||1,600|
|Kerb weight (kg)||2,100|
|EV driving range – WLTP (km)||600|
|Battery capacity (kWh)||90|
|Charging power (kW)||150|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h (sec)||3.0|
|Max. speed (km/h)||200|
|Max. output (kW)||400|
|Max. torque (Nm)||700|
New Lexus Business and Technology Centre to open in 2024
Lexus will open a new business and technology centre in Shimoyama, Aichi prefecture, Japan, in March 2024. This will bring Lexus engineers and designers together with their product planning colleagues.
Here, both cars and employees will be developed through “driving and fixing” on test courses at the centre that replicate harsh driving environments from around the world. This is made possible thanks to the large site at Shimoyama and its naturally undulating landscape.
A new Lexus building and a “Messe” convention/exhibition centre will also be constructed, with facilities where the company can work on projects with its external business partners. Both facilities will enable people from Lexus and external businesses or organisations to co-operate in open and agile working to move car manufacturing beyond its current boundaries.
The cornerstone of new vehicle development will be a new three-storey Lexus building. The ground floor will feature an area emulating the look and feel of a pit garage at the Nürburgring race circuit, where people from all business functions can work on projects together, using cutting-edge digital tools for agile vehicle development.
The layout of the design space on the second floor has been drawn up to maximise creativity, with clay models on prominent display. Here, designers, production engineers, aerodynamicists and other members of the experimental department can collaborate closely on new ideas, at the heart of Lexus design development
The first-floor office space has an open-plan design that will encourage different business functions to work together and maximise individual creativity. To accelerate car-centred development, a flexible approach to working will enable employees to move freely between the floors whenever necessary.
The Messe building will encourage and enable creativity with Lexus’s external business partners. As well as a multi-purpose hall, it has a garage area where teams and business partners can meet to view, assess, work on and interact with vehicles.
Development of the test courses has started, and testing is already under way on a 5.3 km country route, rising through 75 m and featuring a range of different bends, making use of the natural contours of the land. There will be around 10 different test tracks in all, including a high-speed evaluation course and others which replicate different road surfaces from around the world.
The important issues of co-existence with the local environment and communities have been carefully considered in the development of the Shimoyama centre.
Great effort is invested in maintaining and managing the natural environment; preserved features and native plants and wildlife are present in about 70 per cent of the site. Lexus is also working to support regeneration and conservation of nearby forests and rice fields, referred to locally as satoyama (neighbouring ecosystems that are closely linked to local human life). Dry and degraded rice paddies are being restored into wetland habitats and year-round water channels are being installed in surrounding valley fields to provide a refuge for aquatic life. In addition, tunnels and bridges have been constructed to preserve the natural topography as much as possible and to provide habitats and migration routes for animals and plants.