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Lexus to Show Off First Electric Vehicle on 4/20 – Kelley Blue Book


The world will get its first look at the production Lexus RZ 450e on April 20.

We already know a little about the first electric Lexus (in the U.S. – the company sells an electric version of its UX SUV in Europe). Lexus showed off a concept version of the car back in December.

Late to the Contest

Toyota and its Lexus luxury marque have long ruled over the hybrid market in the U.S. More than half of the hybrids sold in the U.S. last year wore a Toyota or Lexus badge. But the company briefly looked to have been caught flat-footed by the auto industry’s transition to electric vehicles (EVs).

Then, in December, Toyota surprised the press by revealing a slate of 17 EVs. All were described as concept cars, but some of them, we were told, would likely appear as Lexus vehicles.

The move came just in time – high gas prices have more Americans than ever shopping for hybrids and electric cars.

Based on Toyota’s First EV

The RZ 450e will be the first to reach Lexus showrooms. It is based on Toyota’s first EV, the oddly-named bZ4X SUV. Teaser shots Lexus has released show a sleeker, more curvaceous take on the bZ4X body – though some of the shots are partially disguised by a psychedelic lighting scheme.

Steering Yoke in Place of Wheel

They also show a surprise – a steering yoke in place of a traditional steering wheel. Toyota revealed the yoke on the Japanese version of the bZ4X last year. But, at the time, the company said the technology wouldn’t come to America anytime soon.

It will, it seems, in the Lexus showroom.

Tesla unveiled a similar yoke last year on its redesigned model S sedan. The Tesla yoke hasn’t been a big hit with car critics, who often find it cumbersome. It can leave drivers searching for a hand-hold in hand-over-hand turns.

Toyota says its yoke is paired to a variable ratio, steer-by-wire system that means drivers never have to make a hand-over-hand maneuver.

Other Details Will Have to Wait

We’ll have to wait for the formal reveal to learn more details. Toyota’s version of this EV makes just a little over 200 horsepower – likely not enough for Lexus shoppers. The 450e moniker might be a clue that more power is on tap, as the similarly-named RX 450h makes 308 horsepower.

One detail Lexus has offered — It will be the first vehicle sold with a new electric motor Lexus calls Direct4, and it will use two of them for an all-wheel-drive setup.

We’ll know more on 4/20. As to whether that date is a joke…well, Toyota sent out teaser photos in rainbow lighting and highlighted the vehicle’s toke…er…yoke. You be the judge.
We already know a little about the first electric Lexus (in the U.S. – the company sells an electric version of its UX SUV in Europe). Lexus showed off a concept version of the car back in December.
Toyota and its Lexus luxury marque have long ruled over the hybrid market in the U.S. More than half of the hybrids sold in the U.S. last year wore a Toyota or Lexus badge. But the company briefly looked to have been caught flat-footed by the auto industry’s transition to electric vehicles (EVs).
Then, in December, Toyota surprised the press by revealing a slate of 17 EVs. All were described as concept cars, but some of them, we were told, would likely appear as Lexus vehicles.
The move came just in time – high gas prices have more Americans than ever shopping for hybrids and electric cars.

The RZ 450e will be the first to reach Lexus showrooms. It is based on Toyota’s first EV, the oddly-named bZ4X SUV. Teaser shots Lexus has released show a sleeker, more curvaceous take on the bZ4X body – though some of the shots are partially disguised by a psychedelic lighting scheme.
They also show a surprise – a steering yoke in place of a traditional steering wheel. Toyota revealed the yoke on the Japanese version of the bZ4X last year. But, at the time, the company said the technology wouldn’t come to America anytime soon.
It will, it seems, in the Lexus showroom.

Tesla unveiled a similar yoke last year on its redesigned model S sedan. The Tesla yoke hasn’t been a big hit with car critics, who often find it cumbersome. It can leave drivers searching for a hand-hold in hand-over-hand turns.
Toyota says its yoke is paired to a variable ratio, steer-by-wire system that means drivers never have to make a hand-over-hand maneuver.
We’ll have to wait for the formal reveal to learn more details. Toyota’s version of this EV makes just a little over 200 horsepower – likely not enough for Lexus shoppers. The 450e moniker might be a clue that more power is on tap, as the similarly-named RX 450h makes 308 horsepower.
One detail Lexus has offered — It will be the first vehicle sold with a new electric motor Lexus calls Direct4, and it will use two of them for an all-wheel-drive setup.
We’ll know more on 4/20. As to whether that date is a joke…well, Toyota sent out teaser photos in rainbow lighting and highlighted the vehicle’s toke…er…yoke. You be the judge.
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