Lexus has revealed its first purely-electric concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show today, a vehicle that not only signals the brand’s intent to finally move into the electric car space, but one that also previews the next generation of technology for the Japanese automaker.
Dubbed LF30 – the LF standing for ‘Lexus Future’ and the 30 a reference to the company’s 30th anniversary, celebrated this year – its design is extreme for the normally conservative brand. Built on an all-new electric-specific platform, the LF30 has short overhangs, a voluminous cabin and twin gullwing doors covering both rows of seats.
There’s still a spindle grille up front to remind you of the company that made it, but it’s now a graphical device rather than an actual grille. It stretches over the bonnet, merges with the glass roof and then flows over the back onto the rear bumper.
The design study seats four and predictably has autonomous driving features, though a steering wheel and pedals are still prominent parts of the cabin furniture. That’s deliberate, as Lexus wants to emphasise that its vision of electrification won’t be at the expense of driving enjoyment.
Indeed, the LF30 is claimed to feature something called “Advanced Posture Control”, which merges torque vectoring with other technologies to harmonise the output of the car’s multiple electric motors to enhance acceleration and cornering performance.
According to the Japanese maker, the LF-30 will glide to the 100km/h benchmark from zero in just 3.8 seconds, has a maximum speed of 200km/h and a WLTP range of 500km. Power comes from in-wheel hub motors that total 400kW and a handy 700Nm of torque and are fed by a 110kWh battery that has fast 150kW charging.
The LF30’s infotainment system also banishes the clumsy controls of present-day Lexuses in favour of an augmented reality interface, with projected controls on glass allowing passengers to take control of on-board functions. And that extends to those in the back seat as well, with the glass roof above them also being part of the infotainment “screen” and interactable. Cool, but we imagine cleaning greasy fingerprints off the inside of your glass will get old pretty quick.
The good news is that though the AR-enhanced infotainment looks to be very much a wildly futuristic concept feature, the development head of the LF30, Takashi Watanabe, says that it does signify Lexus’ intent to add some much-needed sophistication to its in-cabin technology.
Is it a harbinger of a production car? Not really, but elements of it will likely be found on the company’s first exclusively-electric production car – a vehicle that Watanabe says can be expected in either 2022 or 2023. Electric versions of other existing models will precede it, however, and the first of these will be announced next month.