Set for launch later this year, the all-electric Lexus UX 300e combines the brand’s world-class refinement and quietness levels with a razor-sharp dynamic and fun-to-drive character. Working closely with Lexus’ expert ‘Takumi’ master drivers, the UX 300e engineering team developed an array of new technologies designed specifically to deliver a unique ‘Lexus Electrified’ driving experience.
At Lexus, the title ‘Takumi’ is granted to those experts in a given subject, who have amassed a minimum of 60,000 hours of study and practice – the equivalent of 8 hours per day, 250 days a year for 30 years. Their vast knowledge underpins Lexus’ acknowledged commitment to quality in development and production.
HIGHLY RIGID PLATFORM, LOW CENTRE OF GRAVITY
High on Chief Engineer Takashi Watanabe’s ‘must have’ list for the UX 300e was ‘fun’, which has resulted in an all-electric driving experience that is dynamic yet extremely refined. This owes much to the car’s low centre of gravity – a characteristic helped by locating the battery beneath the vehicle body and the electric motor low in the engine bay – and the specially strengthened yet lightweight UX platform (GA-C).
TAKUMI-CRAFTED DRIVING EXPERIENCE
First driven by Lexus’ famed Takumi master drivers on roads and test tracks in Japan, the UX 300e’s suspension was then fine-tuned on European roads to provide the appropriate wheel rate and damping to quell any uncomfortable pitching. These test sessions resulted in the development of bespoke shock absorbers that create a linear steering feel and control vehicle posture.
Based on feedback from master drivers versed in crafting cars across the entire Lexus range, including high performance models, a reinforcement brace was added to the steering gearbox on the front suspension member for a more direct and precise steering feel. This ensures extra responsiveness the instant the driver begins to turn, giving the UX 300e the uniquely precise and refined steering characteristics of a Lexus.
BESPOKE BRAKES AND TYRES
Developed especially for the new UX 300e, front and rear ventilated discs improve the braking performance of the first all-electric Lexus, while the bespoke 17” and 18” tyres highlight the all-electric’s quality feeling, quietness and exceptional handling stability.
BRAND-NEW ALL-ELECTRIC DRIVETRAIN
Optimised for lively urban driving, the UX 300e’s brand-new all-electric drivetrain features a high-output 150 kW (204 DIN hp) electric motor/generator that delivers effortless linear acceleration from 0-100 km in 7.5 seconds up to a top speed of 160 km/h. Acceleration characteristics have also been optimised to suit urban driving situations. At low throttle, during stop-start driving, for example, speed control is prioritised, while at mid-to-high throttle, such as when merging onto a motorway, the focus is on continuous powerful acceleration.
Lexus engineers also developed a compact new transaxle to deliver class-leading drivetrain performance for the new UX 300e. For super-smooth running, improvements such as gear tooth surface polishing and an optimised lubrication system were also introduced.
EFFORTLESS LINEAR ACCELERATION, FOUR DECELERATION LEVELS
To realise a smooth yet responsive drive, the UX 300e’s new Power Control Unit (PCU) allows effortless driving with minimal accelerator input. Lexus engineers went so far as to ensure smooth acceleration even when the driver’s accelerator pedal operations are slightly erratic. In addition, for a more comfortable ride, irregular vehicle speed fluctuations are reduced, even with varying road surface gradients.
For engaging performance in situations such as frequent stop-and-go driving in the city and navigating winding roads, the UX 300e’s deceleration can be controlled in four levels using the paddle shifters located behind the steering wheel.
Another central point of interaction for the UX 300e driver is the finely crafted drive selector. Replacing the conventional gearshift, this fits snugly in the driver’s palm and applies Lexus’ very latest ‘shift-by-wire’ technology to create a premium feel for controlling reverse/neutral/drive. Additionally, the operation stroke has been shortened to enable rapid shifting.
“For the new UX 300e crossover, we’ve created an electrified driving experience that is unique to Lexus,” says Chief Engineer Takashi Watanabe. “The thousands of hours invested by our Takumi master drivers have resulted in a dynamic refinement that sets a new standard for the segment.”
The Lexus UX 300e will be introduced to selected markets in Europe by the end of the year.