Lexus has confirmed it will add a battery-powered version of its UX small SUV to the Australian line-up, marking the company’s local EV foray in 2021 with the UX 300e.
Revealed 12 months ago, the Japanese luxury car maker’s first fully electric car is already on sale in other parts of the world, but Australians will have to wait another year for the zero-emissions variant with plans to officially launch the UX 300e at next year’s Melbourne Cup event.
Pricing for the new variant is yet to be finalised but Lexus says the arrival will form a new “flagship” of the UX SUV range and will therefore be priced over the top of the $64,000 UX 250h AWD F-Sport.
It will also likely beat parent company Toyota to the EV punch in the Aussie market.
While the company has become synonymous for its wide range of hybrid vehicles (or ‘self-charging electric’ it says) including a version in the UX range, Lexus has yet to weigh in with a purely electric car in any model line.
The exact specification for the 300e will be made available closer to its introduction but Australian versions will share the same pure battery-electric drivetrain as the rest of the world, which produces 150kW and 300Nm and a range of up to 400km.
Its lithium-ion battery can be recharged in just 50 minutes with high-rate fast charging or about seven hours using standard household AC power.
Over the next 12 months, Lexus is preparing its dealers for the arrival of electric motion and will have more announcements regarding its preparation in due course, which is likely to include a charging infrastructure plan.
At the announcement of the UX 300e, Lexus Australia chief executive Scott Thompson reiterated that the company would not introduce its first EV until the “complete customer experience” aligned with expectations of any owner, regardless of the drivetrain.
On the outside, the latest UX addition is aesthetically similar to its hybrid and pure petrol brethren, although a number of design changes accompany the milestone drivetrain including aerodynamic improvements.
Those include a unique wheel design, a grille with active vents to control airflow and reduce drag, and a modified underbody for more drag reduction.
Suspension has also undergone a retune to accommodate an increased kerb weight as well as a lowered centre of gravity. ‘Excellent handling stability’ is maintained, claims Lexus.
The model’s drive mode selector is retained but has unique electric settings to adjust the smoothness of power delivery while steering wheel paddles are used to alter the aggressiveness of regenerative braking in four levels.