Lexus has unveiled the new RZ, the brand’s first Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), basically a fully-electric car, that marks the beginning of the brand’s transition to electric cars. Lexus aims to have a full lineup of fully electric vehicles by 2030.
The RZ is built on a BEV-specific platform (e-TNGA) with optimal weight distribution through ideal placement of the battery and motor. The platform offers high levels of stability and ride comfort by mounting the battery under the vehicle floor and features a low center of gravity.
Upfront, RZ features MacPherson strut suspension, while its rear uses a trailing arm double wishbone configuration. For the first time, Lexus uses Frequency Reactive Dampers, a frequency-sensitive absorber that alters the damping force in response to road surface frequency input.
Performance figures were not revealed although Lexus highlighted that the RZ’s 71.4 kWh battery can offer up to 450 km of range on a single charge. Improved battery control technology ensures that the RZ’s battery capacity retention rate stays at 90% or more after 10 years of use.
The new RZ also debuts the DIRECT4 system, a new Lexus-first all-wheel drive system along with a new high output motor. The clever new power distribution system uses wheel speed, acceleration, and steering angle sensors to control the amount of power sent to the wheels. Power distribution can vary significantly between the front and rear wheels (60:40, 40:60, 0:100, 100:100, 75:25, 50:50, 20:80) to ensure the optimal control of the vehicle in any driving situation.
Another Lexus-first is the Steer-by-Wire system that’s void of any mechanical components. The steering angle is set at approximately 150 degrees, greatly reducing the driver’s workload and eliminating the need for hand-over-hand operation at intersections, U-turns, parking, winding roads, and other driving situations.
As for dimensions wise, the RZ is about the same size as the Lexus RX in terms of length, width, height, and wheelbase. Not having an engine meant the RZ could sport a lower hood design. The grille features a shutter that closes when cooling is not needed to improve aerodynamics. At the rear, the RZ sports the new Lexus logo that sits atop the stretch rear lights.
The front cockpit is based on the ‘Tazuna concept’, inspired by Tazuna reins that riders use to control horses. The steering wheel features switches that are precisely synced with the Head-Up Display (HUD), allowing drivers to control various functions such as navigation, audio, and drive mode without shifting their eyes away from the road. The cockpit is home to a Lexus-first dial shift knob mounted on the center console through the application of Shift-by-Wire.