Lexus opened its presentation at Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition earlier this month with its first EV, the UX 300e. The fact that the EV crossover got top billing is significant.
The UX 300e is the consumer vehicle figurehead of Lexus’ new electric imperative, ‘Lexus Electrified’, and so it has a lot of responsibility to carry: it has to represent this performance/luxury division of Toyota, and it has to entice buyers globally to embrace its particular vision of the electric car.
A tall order, and one Lexus was determined to fulfill with the new model. Like other carmakers—Mercedes is a good example—they took their time, so that when a reveal finally arrived it would impress, carry the brand over the EV threshold, and sell well enough to recoup a more than a few EV investment dollars.
The UX 300e, then, is one beautifully engineered machine. Its looks are decidedly crossover; its performance ticks a lot of boxes on the consumer EV tire-kicking checklist. Most important, of course, is range, and preemptive alleviation of consumer ‘range anxiety’. The UX 300e fares well in this department, offering drivers 400 km—nearly 250 miles—between 50-minute high-speed charges.
As important, however, is the cohesive integration of performance under the ‘Lexus Electrified’ philosophy, a connecting of all practical mechanical driving essentials: motors, brakes, steering and suspension. Other unique features include the Drive Mode Select function, turning the paddle shift into an engine-braking control that adjusts acceleration and deceleration on the road, and appears to allow for optimal energy regeneration/performance ratio according to driving conditions.