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Lexus reveals 2023 RZ 450e, the brand’s first battery EV

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Lexus has unveiled details about its all-new 2023 RZ 450e, the brand’s first global battery EV. Lexus says it will offer a full lineup of BEVs in all categories by 2030, and five years later, Lexus seeks to attain 100% BEV sales globally.

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Lexus says the utilization of a BEV-specific platform (e-TNGA), as well as a lightweight and highly rigid body, has enhanced the fundamental performance of the vehicle by achieving optimal weight distribution through the ideal placement of the battery and motor. In addition, the DIRECT4 all-wheel-drive system and the adoption of a new steering control and available “Steer by Wire” system enable vehicle control that is more true to the driver’s intention, the company says. In the RZ, the high-precision motor torque control and optimal battery and motor placement help to achieve ideal weight distribution and high response.

DIRECT4 and the newly developed high-output electronic axle (eAxle) motor continuously controls the drive force of the four wheels with high precision, Lexus says. It works according to the ground contact load of the vehicle regardless of road surface and driving conditions to achieve an exhilarating driving experience in line with the driver’s intention.

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The DIRECT4 distribution control uses wheel vehicle speed, acceleration and steering angle sensor information to control front-to-rear drive force ratio distribution, contributing to improved start-up acceleration, handling stability and low-power consumption. The system uses an approximate front-to-rear drive force ratio distribution between 60:40 and 40:60 to minimize vehicle pitch during launch and straight-line acceleration, thereby achieving a direct acceleration feel, Lexus says. Vital information such as cornering speed and steering angle help to optimize drive force distribution according to various driving conditions and helps attain excellent handling stability. When the steering wheel is turned, drive force is biased to the front wheels. When exiting a corner, torque distribution to the rear wheels is further increased to ensure ample traction while controlling vehicle pitch. For RZ, engineers have achieved a refined driving feel by orchestrating the seamless operation of their accumulated electrification and dynamic vehicle movement control technologies.

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The DIRECT4 system uses an approximate front-to-rear drive force ratio distribution to minimize vehicle pitch during launch and straight-line acceleration, thereby achieving a direct acceleration feel, Lexus says.
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Lexus says engineers matched sound frequencies to the vehicle’s speed and sound levels during dynamic actions such as acceleration.

The newly developed eAxle fully integrates the motor, transaxle and inverter within a compact unit to benefit cruise range, spacious interior and excellent design. The front eAxle is packaged with a short front/rear system layout, while the rear eAxle features a low-profile layout contributing to increased interior and cargo space. In addition, the use of a high-efficiency inverter having an element in the rear, contributes to an increase in cruise range.

Available in the U.S. at a future date, the “Steer by Wire” system enables the electronic exchange of steering and road surface information between the advanced steering control and tires via electrical signals, not mechanical linkage.

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The control’s steering angle is set at approximately 150 degrees, thus 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. Unhindered by a sizeable standard steering wheel, designers crafted the steering control’s compact shape and lowered the instrument meter’s placement to encourage driver engagement and environmental awareness.

Lexus says engineers matched sound frequencies to the vehicle’s speed and sound levels during dynamic actions such as acceleration. In addition, the underfloor battery functions as a sound barrier and the entire perimeter of the hood opening is sealed to eliminate noise caused by turbulent airflow. Unwanted noise is also suppressed through the use of front/rear seat acoustic glass, and a new weatherstripping cross-section creates quiet, conversation-friendly space, the company says, even when driving at high speeds.

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The control’s steering angle is set at approximately 150 degrees, thus greatly reducing the driver’s workload and eliminating the need for hand-over-hand operation, Lexus says.

The RZ uses the latest Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 set of driving aids, including standard Pre-Collision System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert and Emergency Driving Stop System.

LSS+ 3.0 on the 2023 RZ includes some additional features offered with the available driver monitor system:

  • Pre-Collision System [PCS]: The driver monitor system checks the driver’s condition, and if it is determined that the driver is distracted or drowsy, judged by how often the driver looks away from the road, the system will provide an earlier timing alert and braking to help avoid a collision and/or possible damage.
  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control [DRCC] (with full-speed follow function): While enabled, the driver monitor system will check to see if the driver is attentive, and will judge the distance from the preceding vehicle, adjusting based on the distance (time) setting (four levels available) and automatically brake when too close.
  • Lane Departure Alert [LDA]: When the driver monitor system is engaged, the system will detect the driver’s level of alertness, and, if it determines the driver is inattentive, the system activates either the alert or the steering assist at an earlier time than usual.
  • Emergency Driving Stop System [EDSS]: When Lane Trace Assist (LTA) is activated, if the driver monitor system determines that the driver becomes unable to continue driving the vehicle, the system will decelerate the vehicle and stop within the current lane to help avoid a collision or reduce the impact of a collision. To do this, the system first warns the surroundings by flashing the hazard lamps while gently decelerating the vehicle until the vehicle comes to a full stop.
  • Available Advanced Park with remote function expands support for parallel parking. In addition to conventional back-up parking, forward-facing parking is now supported, enabling forward-facing/back-up exit.

Additional driver and passenger comforts include radiant heaters to warm the passenger’s knees while working with the air conditioner to provide a warm temperature at a reduced rate of battery consumption.

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Lexus says both driver and passengers can enjoy the wide-open space created by the panoramic roof which is equipped with a Lexus-first, available dimming function, which instantly reduces the amount of light entering the cabin area.

The RZ will feature the North American-developed Lexus Interface multimedia system recently launched on the NX and LX. The system will be accessible via voice commands and a 14-in. touchscreen.

The 2023 Lexus RZ 450e is expected to go on sale toward the end of 2022.

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