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Lexus unveils RZ 450e, the brand’s first global BEV

Lexus unveiled details of the all-new 2023 RZ 450e, the brand’s first global Battery EV (BEV). The 2023 Lexus RZ 450e is expected to go on sale towards the end of 2022.


As Lexus’ first global BEV model, the all-new RZ marks Lexus’ transition into a BEV-centered brand (targeting 100% BEV sales globally by 2035), and it embodies the Lexus vehicle design and driving experience made available through advanced, electrified technology. The utilization of a BEV-specific platform (e-TNGA), as well as a lightweight and highly rigid body, has enhanced the fundamental performance of the vehicle by achieving optimal weight distribution through ideal placement of the battery and motor. In addition, the DIRECT4 all-wheel drive system and the adoption of a new steering control and available Steer by Wire system enable vehicle control that is more true to the driver’s intention.

The “Lexus Driving Signature” (LDS) is the Lexus driving experience that aims to achieve predictable, linear response according to the driver’s intentions. In the RZ, the high-precision motor torque control and optimal battery and motor placement help to achieve ideal weight distribution and high response.

This concept is called “The Natural” and is based on the DIRECT4 all-wheel drive system that controls front and rear drive force according to driving and road surface conditions. It achieves driving performance where the vehicle directly responds according to the driver’s input, taking the “Lexus Driving Signature” to an even higher level.

DIRECT4. DIRECT4 and the newly developed high-output electronic axle (eAxle) motor continuously control the drive force of the four wheels with high precision. It works according to the ground contact load of the vehicle regardless of road surface and driving conditions.

The DIRECT4 distribution control uses wheel vehicle speed, acceleration and steering angle sensor information to control front-to-rear drive force ratio distribution between 100:0 and 0:100. This contributes to improved start-up acceleration, handling stability and low power consumption.

The system uses an approximate front-to-rear drive force ratio distribution between 60:40 and 40:60 to minimize vehicle pitch during launch and straight-line acceleration, thereby achieving a direct acceleration feel. Vital information such as cornering speed and steering angle help to optimize drive force distribution according to various driving conditions and helps attain excellent handling stability.

When the steering wheel is turned, drive force is biased to the front wheels (distributing drive force between 75:25 and 50:50) so RZ responds nimbly and provides excellent steering feel. When exiting a corner, torque distribution to the rear wheels is further increased (between 50:50 and 20:80) to ensure ample traction while controlling vehicle pitch.

For RZ, engineers have achieved a refined driving feel by orchestrating the seamless operation of their accumulated electrification and dynamic vehicle movement control technologies.

The newly developed eAxle fully integrates the motor, transaxle and inverter within a compact unit to benefit cruise range, spacious interior and excellent design. The front eAxle is packaged with a short front/rear system layout, while the rear eAxle features a low-profile layout contributing to increased interior and cargo space. In addition, the use of a high-efficiency inverter having an element in the rear, contributes to an increase in cruise range.

The current US manufacturer-estimated range is up to 225 miles with 18-inch tires.

A new pressurization unit enables coordinated front and rear regenerative braking through independent front and rear hydraulic control. The new braking system aims to provide seamless, direct and controlled braking under the direction of the Lexus Driving Signature. Based on Lexus’ hybrid electric technology experience and achievements over the years, the regenerative braking system improves regenerative energy efficiency to increase cruise range, while enhancing brake feel. Stable vehicle posture is achieved by optimizing the distribution of braking force to the front and rear wheels in response to the amount of braking by the driver. Furthermore, ergonomic brake pedal pads are used for easy pedal changes and pedal depression.

Available steer-by-wire with innovative steering control. Available in the US at a future date, the Lexus-first Steer by Wire system enables the electronic exchange of steering and road surface information between the advanced steering control and tires via electrical signals, not mechanical linkage.

The control’s steering angle is set at approximately 150 degrees, thus greatly reducing the driver’s workload and eliminating the need for hand-over-hand operation at intersections, U-turns, parking, winding roads and other driving situations. Unhindered by a sizeable standard steering wheel, designers crafted the steering control’s compact shape and lowered the instrument meter’s placement to encourage driver engagement and environmental awareness.


A cockpit space encouraging even more engagement with the car has been achieved by minimizing driver eye movement during driving and naturally drawing the driver’s eyes forward. With Steer by Wire enabling the electronic exchange of steering and road surface information between the steering wheel and tires via electrical signals, Lexus focused on the quality and transmission speed of important driving information. The system achieves maneuverable and confidence inspiring performance through precise judgment, by blocking out unnecessary vibrations from the tires and brakes, only relaying vital driving information such as road information to the driver.

When Lane Tracing Assist is activated, the wheels are controlled as needed, allowing for gentle steering and vehicle movement. Furthermore, in addition to the vehicle’s overall maneuverability, the system provides nimble and agile performance on winding roads and high-speed stability on the highways by optimizing the steering gear ratio according to vehicle condition.

BEV platform. RZ utilizes a Lexus-first, dedicated BEV platform (e-TNGA) that offers stability and ride comfort by mounting the battery under the vehicle floor creating a low center of gravity. The body is strengthened by reinforcing the radiator support area and adding a V-shaped brace for excellent handling performance.

In addition, the tow bar and fender braces improve steering response, while the reinforcement in the lower back section improves rear tracking.

Laser screw welding, structural adhesives and laser peening welding technologies are proactively used to join the body frame to improve handling stability and ride comfort. The addition of a double ring structure and a highly rigid foaming agent prevents distortion to reduce deformation of the rear luggage opening.

Up front, RZ rides atop a MacPherson strut type suspension, while its rear uses a trailing arm double wishbone configuration. For the first time, Lexus uses Frequency Reactive Dampers, a frequency-sensitive absorber that alters the dampening force on the extension stroke in response to road surface frequency input. The FRD setup gives a high level of handling stability without compromising ride comfort. With FRD and optimized dedicated BEV platform, key Lexus Driving Signature traits such as the precise control of sprung weight, along with natural posture changes, a tactile steering feel and the linear responses of steering, braking and acceleration operations are enabled.

Preliminary main specifications of the new RZ (prototype)


Advanced safety technologies. The RZ uses the latest Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 set of driving aids, including standard Pre-Collision System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert and Emergency Driving Stop System. LSS+ 3.0 on the 2023 RZ includes some additional features offered with the available driver monitor system.

  • Pre-Collision System [PCS]: The driver monitor system checks the driver’s condition, and if it is determined that the driver is distracted or drowsy, judged by how often the driver looks away from the road, the system will provide an earlier timing alert and braking to help avoid a collision and/or possible damage.

  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control [DRCC] (with full-speed follow function): While enabled, the driver monitor system will check to see if the driver is attentive, and will judge the distance from the preceding vehicle, adjusting based on the distance (time) setting (four levels available) and automatically brake when too close.

  • Lane Departure Alert [LDA]: When the driver monitor system is engaged, the system will detect the driver’s level of alertness, and, if it determines the driver is inattentive, the system activates either the alert or the steering assist at an earlier time than usual.

  • Emergency Driving Stop System [EDSS]: When Lane Trace Assist (LTA) is activated, if the driver monitor system determines that the driver becomes unable to continue driving the vehicle, the system will decelerate the vehicle and stop within the current lane to help avoid a collision or reduce the impact of a collision. To do this, the system first warns the surroundings by flashing the hazard lamps while gently decelerating the vehicle until the vehicle comes to a full stop.

Available advanced Park with remote function expands support for parallel parking. In addition to conventional back-up parking, forward-facing parking is now supported, enabling forward-facing/back-up exit.


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