With a tag line of “Lexus First, EV second” and after 15 years of hybrids, Lexus today announced their first battery-electric car (BEV), the UX300e. Perhaps even more important is the pricing; the top-spec Limited model UX300e is $79,990 including on-road costs, it just makes it under the $80,000 cut-off limit for the government’s Clean Car Rebate scheme.

At that price, it well undercuts the Mercedes-Benz EQA, as well as the top-spec Hyundai Kona EV and Kia Niro EV by a substantial margin. The UX300e is the first in the drive to get to 100% EV models by 2030 for Lexus.

Based on the front-wheel-drive UX SUV, Andrew Davis, Lexus New Zealand’s General Manager, says the first all-electric Lexus is the epitome of luxurious and emission-free driving.

“Lexus is aiming to decarbonise its portfolio as part of an overall commitment to reduce our impact on climate change. The new UX 300e is the first model of many new and exciting electric vehicles we will see from Lexus over the next few years.”
“Built for a mostly urban driver in mind, the UX 300e provides an enjoyable and sustainable city driving experience.

Featuring both AC and DC charging ports, drivers will have the flexibility to switch between overnight home charging or fast charging while out and about. This really is un-plug and play driving.” Mr Davis says.

The car features a 54kWh lithium-ion battery that sits under the cabin floor and gives around NEDC 360Km of driving range. There is no official WLTP figure for the UX300e for the New Zealand market. The battery carries an 8-year, 160,000km warranty, and covers failure or abnormal capacity degradation above 30%. The battery’s cooling is not liquid-based, as it is on nearly all other EVs, but instead uses air cooling to keep the batteries at the right temperature. Lexus says their experience in hybrids makes them confident that the less costly and less complicated route of air cooling is the best option.

This BEV model extends the UX range even more as it already offers petrol, hybrid electric, petrol-turbo and diesel options.

A 150kW electric motor delivers 300Nm of torque and gets the car to 100Km/h in 7.5 seconds, and there are four levels of regenerative braking to choose from. Removing the fuel tank has increased luggage capacity to 310 litres, up from the hybrid’s 268 litres.

There are two models of BEV UX on sale in New Zealand; the UX300e (for fleet sale only) and the UX300e Limited, which has bigger wheels (from 17” to 18”), triple LED adaptive headlights and a hands-free electric tailgate. All seats are heated in both models, with the front seats ventilated.

Eligible buyers of the UX 300e will be able to access the New Zealand Government’s Clean Car Discount. Lexus New Zealand has announced that the pricing of the new Lexus UX 300e means it qualifies for a rebate of $8,625 under the scheme. While there is a ‘fleet’ model aimed at corporates and governments departments (available on a leasing basis), there’s just one consumer model, the Lexus UX 300e Limited with an RPP of $79,900 including on-road costs.

The first 100 customers get a ‘free’ portable home charge cable, which means the car can be plugged into a standard 230-volt socket, rather than the preferable wall charger. Ninety New Zealanders have placed orders for the car.

The pricing includes Lexus’ 4-year unlimited-kilometre warranty, service plan and roadside assistance package. The new UX300e will be available in Lexus dealerships now for customers to test drive.

And to those who need to know the big question: does the UX300e have a CD player? Breathe easy; yes, it does.

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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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