Lexus New Zealand will has announced the eventual arrival of its first battery electric Lexus, the UX 300e, at the end of 2021.

While the vehicle is arriving at the end of 2021, customers can register their interest now at their Lexus dealership to be one of the first to receive the new EV.

The Lexus UX 300e harnesses more than 15 years of expertise in electric motor, battery, and energy management development, giving the UX line up a petrol, hybrid, and full battery electric option.

Lexus New Zealand General Manager Andrew Davis says it’s exciting to reveal the marque’s first battery electric vehicle (BEV). “Lexus has chosen the UX platform as the first of its range to carry the much-awaited pure electric technology. As the smallest Lexus SUV, this makes the UX300e an accessible luxury battery electric SUV.”

“The UX 300e is the first of many new electrified Lexus models which will ultimately contribute to the decarbonisation of our national vehicle fleet – a key objective of the NZ government,” Mr Davis says.

By 2025, Lexus globally plans to introduce 20 new or improved models, including more than 10 electrified BEV, PHEV or HEV models.

The Lexus journey from first adding an electric motor and battery to a petrol engine to create the ‘hybrid’ powertrain, and then to battery electric and plug-in hybrid options, mirrors the transitional pathway the company says is the most feasible method to get New Zealand to a zero-carbon future.

“We don’t see an immediate jump to BEV for all drivers. We expect that as Lexus drivers upgrade over time, they will continue to purchase vehicles that meet their needs. Our role is to be able to provide these vehicles in the most fuel efficient and low carbon-emitting way,” Andrew says.

The Lexus UX 300e will become the flagship UX and build on the successful luxury compact UX 200 petrol and UX 250h self-charging hybrid electric variants that have been on sale in New Zealand since early 2019.

The UX 300e will be built alongside electrified hybrid models at Lexus’ award-winning Kyushu plant, with production overseen by ‘Takumi’ master craftspeople. Here, attention to detail is everywhere, from handsanded paintwork to the dust-free cleanroom assembly of electric components.

After studying BEV noise patterns, the engineers and designers added specific actions such as bespoke BEV tyres and wheel-arch liners to reduce in-cabin noise caused by stones, grit or water spraying up from the road.

At the plant, an elite team stitches the leather accented seats with a design inspired by ‘sashiko’, a traditional Japanese quilting technique which brings both strength and a distinctive style to the upholstery.

Before shipping, every UX 300e will be checked for perfection in a ‘Quiet Room’ facility by Takumi craftspeople. Here they use their finely trained ears and fingertips to detect and rectify unwanted noise and vibrations within the cabin.

The all-electric UX 300e offers maximum power of 150kW and torque of 300Nm, incorporating a high output motor and high-capacity lithium-ion battery that can deliver up to a 400km driving range in certain driving conditions. The UX 300e takes about 60 minutes for DC fast charging.

Maximum efficiency for the motor, inverter, gears, and battery has been advanced from the development of the popular UX 250h hybrid-electric variant.

The UX 300e also benefits from the high body rigidity and low centre of gravity provided by the luxury compact SUV’s GA-C platform, to maintain excellent handling stability.

The UX 300e suspension has been tuned to target the same high steering response and high-quality ride comfort as the UX 250h. Shock-absorber damping force has been optimised to match the additional battery capacity.

A Drive Mode Select function is designed to assist the management of smooth acceleration and deceleration. Paddle shifters can be used in a similar manner to engine braking, providing four levels of deceleration regeneration.

Lexus engineers kept the distinctive design and the utility characteristics of the UX compact SUV intact, while the aerodynamic performance of the UX 300e benefits from the and an underbody cover.

Lexus hybrid sales have increased 168% since 2018. This year, 70 per cent of New Zealand Lexus customers have chosen a hybrid electric model, with Lexus NZ saying that it confirms the point that luxury customers are embracing electrified Lexus models that both lower emissions and increase driving enjoyment.

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How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on www.usa2nz.co.nz. We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm also an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.

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