This week, at a Lexus Milestones event held to celebrate 30 years of the Lexus brand, the Japanese luxury automaker gave a preview of its future. This included Lexus' plans for upcoming autonomous driving technologies and expanding the number of electrified vehicles and powertrains throughout its entire lineup.
Speaking to journalists on Thursday, Executive Vice President of Lexus International Koji Sato said, "Between Toyota and Lexus, we plan to roll out 10 EVs by 2025. At the same time, every Lexus model on the road will be available as a dedicated electrified model or have an electrified option."
In this case "electrified" includes a combination of self-contained hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, all of which are on the table as options for future Lexus models. Ultimately, which technology is chosen for a particular vehicle will depend on the market in which that vehicle is sold and the needs of the vehicle and drivers in question.
"There is not one powerplant that will work for the globe. The reality is that different legality and social conditions have created a landscape where automakers must offer a variety of choices," Sato said. "We will chose for each model based on the demand or background of the market."
When asked about fuel cell vehicles, Sato said that "from a technology point of view" the automaker is "very serious about FCEVs," but is carefully consider the rollout of hydrogen depending on the local infrastructure conditions. So, in the US at least, that landscape will likely be populated by more hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles.
"A proven history mastering battery management, reduced mass components and electric motors offers an advantage that will help us create a dedicated pure EV platform that speaks to the next generation of luxury consumers that do not want to make compromises for performance, excitement, range or capability," he said.
The automaker is already well on its way toward achieving its goal of a fully electrified lineup. Of the 11 models in its portfolio, only five aren't currently available as hybrids. The IS, RC and GS make sense to hybridize; the GS, in particular, was offered with a hybrid powertrain previously. Speaking candidly with a Lexus representative later in the day, I learned that the GX and LX — Lexus' two largest SUVs — are tricky because customers expect a different level of off-road and towing capability from a vehicle in this class and the automaker needs to make sure that it meets those expectations with whatever electrification route it takes.