Lexus announces an electric concept with Direct4 technology


Identifying a new or a late-model Lexus is child’s play: Look for the giant spindle-shaped grille. It’s a styling cue that defines all of its recent models, and designing an electric car is evidently not an excuse to get rid of it. Lexus published a dark teaser image that previews an electric concept that will usher in its next design language.

Like parent company Toyota, Lexus has long resisted the shift towards electric cars by fervently arguing hybrids make more sense. But, as even its home country mulls a blanket ban on internal combustion technology, it’s left with no choice but to go electric. It already sells a battery-powered variant of the UX in Europe, but the concept it previewed on its social channels was designed as an electric car from the get-go.

It’s still shrouded in secrecy, we don’t even know its name yet, but we can already tell the spindle stays. Its outline clearly appears between the sharp LED headlights, though it almost looks full. And, like seemingly every concept car released in the past three or four years, the newest member of the Lexus portfolio wears a backlit emblem.

Interestingly, Lexus also quietly published a separate video highlighting the electric and hybrid technologies it’s developing for the 2020s, and the footage reveals a heavily-camouflaged crossover lapping a test track in Japan. Shown in the gallery above, it’s fully electric, and it might be at least related to the upcoming concept.

Direct4 technology will power the car. Short for Direct 4-Wheel Drive Force Control, it’s a system that automatically adjusts the torque sent to each wheel based on the road and driving conditions. In this application, it consists of two electric motors (one per axle), and its total output checks in at 402 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. Lexus noted it can be used for gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid systems, too.

We’ll need to be patient to find out more about the concept. For example, we don’t know if it’s related to the electric car that Toyota will release in Europe in 2021, or if it’s something else entirely. If the concept and the prototype shown testing in Japan are indeed the same car, it looks like its launch is right around the corner.

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