Lexus has unveiled a new all-electric vehicle model, the RZ. The luxury brand will offer the RZ to the global market, and its underpinnings will likely be the basis of more EV models to come. It's the first of Lexus’ planned electric vehicles, with a goal of all Lexus offerings being EV's by 2035.
The Lexus RZ is designed on a new platform, the e-TNGA, made specifically for EV models. This platform was first showcased in December of 2021 when Toyota unveiled several concept models based on it, including hints at this new Lexus. The platform includes a steer-by-wire system, an electrified all-wheel drive system, and an emphasis on high aerodynamic performance. The RZ also includes a full suite of advanced safety features via the Lexus Safety System +.
Dimensionally, the RZ is very similar in size to the Lexus RX model currently on the market, which fits with the naming nomenclature. It will have 18 and 20-inch wheels, a 71.4-kWh battery pack, and two motors (150 kW on the front axle, 80 kW on the rear) for the all-wheel drive system. Total range is expected to be 250 to 280 miles (400 to 450 km).
The Lexus RZ’s unique AWD setup uses sensors to control front-to-rear drive force, allowing each motor to run between 0 and 100 percent according to need and real-time dynamics. Called the Direct4 system, this drive force distribution control system is geared towards handling stability, traction control, and driving dynamics. When the steering wheel is turned, for example, it pushes drive force to the front axle for better handling. That force is shifted to the rear axle when the wheel is straightened, to optimize acceleration and body roll coming out of the corner.
The motors are mounted to the axles with a newly-developed eAxle which integrates the motor, transaxle, and power inverter into one unit. The front eAxle is taller and designed to be more forward, while the rear eAxle is wider and more squat to allow maximum passenger and cargo space above. These eAxles are paired with a new regenerative braking system – it utilizes hydraulic control to improve energy recovery efficiency, by allowing the non-friction system to give more braking power before the physical brakes are engaged.