Lexus previews new electric concept showing future design

9 December 2020 - autocar

Lexus previews new electric concept showing future design

Japanese premium firm also outlines new Direct4 all-wheel-drive technology for hybrids and EVs

Lexus has previewed a new concept car that will be unveiled early next year as a showcase for its future electric car design language.

The firm has released a single darkened teaser image of the new concept, but has released no further details. The machine concept follows the brand's first EV, a battery version of the UX crossover that was launched earlier this year, and will hint at how the design team will approach bespoke EVs, which will likely be based on parent company Toyota's new e-TNGA platform.

Design chief Koichi Suga said it will demonstrate how Lexus' bold 'spindle' grille will evolve, due to the lack of a radiator needed for an EV. He said that offered "a chance to express our unique design."

Suga said that "rather than a specific shape", the future design emphasis for Lexus EVs would be "more about expressing the technological foundations in three dimensions." He added that ther firm was working on designs that took inspiration from Lexus's driving dynamics which oiffered "a unique modelling expression."

Lexus has also outlined its new Direct4 electric drive control system, which it says will be a key feature in ensuring the firm's future models offer "unique dynamic performance".

The new system is intended as a key technical pillar of Lexus's wider electrification push, as part of a series of measures aimed to produce "a fundamental leap in vehicle performance, handling, control and driver enjoyment."

The Direct4 system can be used on both full electric and hybrid cars, and utilises front and rear 'e-axles'. Each axle is mated to a high-torque electric motor, and allows torque to be sent independently to all four wheels through a single driveshaft. The system can automatically adjust power and torque between the front, and Lexus claims that it increases dynamic cornering performance while also improving comfort and reducing noise.

Takashi Watanabe, Lexus Electrified's chief engineer, said the Direct4 system could also be used on hybrid models, with the front-mounted petrol motor driving the front axle and an e-axle with motor at the rear.

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