Lexus promises doubling of range
The Japanese’s new BEV aims to alleviate range anxiety concerns
Lexus, the high-end marque of Japan’s Toyota, unveiled the protype for a new BEV it aims to bring into production in 2026 at the Japan Mobility Show. And it is promising innovation around prismatic high-performance batteries for its new LF-ZC “to achieve approximately twice the range of conventional BEVs”.
LF-ZC and Lexus’ other next-generation BEVs will feature these advanced batteries, which will be engineered to increase range through improved aerodynamic integration and weight reduction — enhancing vehicle efficiency and battery performance, the firm promises. “Smaller, more efficient batteries with more power and more range,” says Lexus chief branding officer Simon Humphries.
Higher energy density will be achieved by simplifying and compacting the battery structure, allowing for the integration of more energy into the vehicle, the firm continues.
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And the new battery configuration will also feed into vehicle appearance and performance. Its lower profile will contribute to increased vehicle design flexibility, resulting in “more attractive silhouettes”. A lower centre of gravity promises improved driving dynamics.
The firm is also hoping to profit from innovation in BEV manufacturing. Its next BEV generation will have a new modular structure formed through gigacasting, which splits the vehicle body into three parts. Positioning the battery in the central of the three sections “ensures that the front and rear remain structurally independent, enabling the rapid integration of battery advancements into the vehicle and contributing to more agile future development”.
Lexus will also have a self-driving assembly line, where cars can autonomously move to the next stage of assembly. The elimination of conveyor belts from the production line will provide more flexibility in rearranging factory layouts as necessary, enabling a reduction in production preparation periods and significantly reducing factory investment costs for more agile business operations.
“Our next-generation architecture is so flexible that it will allow us to push the boundaries in every segment going forward,” says Humphries.
As well as the LC-ZC, the firm also showcased the LF-ZL, representing a future Lexus flagship luxury BEV. Along with lots of promises around personalised in-vehicle experience, a selling point for the LF-ZL is utilisation of big data for management of the charging process and power supply.
This, says Lexus, “will enable the vehicle to seamlessly connect to the network and become an integral part of the societal infrastructure while parked” — which suggests possible vehicle-to-grid capabilities.
Taking BEV seriously?
In contrast to Lexus, parent Toyota — while it is showcasing at the show three mass-market BEVs in the Land Cruiser Se three-row SUV BEV version of the firm’s long-standing Land Cruiser model, the EPU mid-size e-pickup truck and the FT-3e SUV-type concept — chose not to present any of these in its CEO’s address. Instead, he concentrated on the Kayoibako BEV van/minibus and the IMV 0 BEV commercial pickup.
And it was a similar story with peer Honda. It focused on the Cruise Origin autonomous e-minivan it is developing with US automaker GM and its autonomous driving subsidiary Cruise, an eVTOL plane, an acrylic resin concept car, a self-driving micro-mobility vehicle and an e-sportscar. Not a single viable BEV passenger car in sight.