Lexus has revealed its first fully electric, dedicated battery electric model the RZ 450e.

Due here next year, the RZ is a clean-sheet design that sits on the e-TNGA platform that
is shared with the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra.

It’s designed specifically for EVs, providing space for the batteries and motor to be placed
low to the ground for optimal weight distribution and a low centre of gravity.

Lexus is claiming a range of about 450km, but it doesn’t say which standard this is under
NEDC or the more recent WLTP testing routine.

Regardless, the bit we like is the optional driver monitor that warns when it detects the
driver is drowsy or looking sideways.

If the system determines the driver’s posture is severely compromised and that it is difficult
for the driver to continue, it warns other drivers by flashing the hazard lights while gently
decelerating the vehicle.

The system then stops the vehicle in its lane, unlocks the doors and automatically notifies
emergency services through the vehicle’s connected technology.

Can’t see too many customers ticking the box for this one (could be very embarrassing).
Being a fully electric model and having no need for a radiator, also has implications for the
Lexus trademark “spindle” grille.

Hey presto it has been replaced by a BEV spindle body that Lexus says signals the
seamless acceleration and dynamic performance specific to BEVs.

Driving the car are two electric motors, 150kW at the front and 80kW at the rear, with a
combined output of 230kW (Lexus/Toyota never share the amount of torque delivered by
electric models).

The larger motor drives the front wheels, the smaller the rear axle, together with a
71.4 kWh lithium-ion battery.

Using acceleration, cornering-speed and steering-angle information, the DIRECT4 all-
wheel-drive system adjusts front-rear torque delivery and braking force to all four wheels to
maximise grip, stability and comfort.

Inside, a new aircraft-like steering control with steer-by-wire replaces a conventional
steering wheel, while the transmission lever has made way for a Lexus-first, rotary-style
knob in the centre console.

The compact yoke-like steering wheel greatly reduces the driver’s workload, eliminating
the need for hand-over-hand operation.

An electronic “e-latch” system is used to operate the doors, with a dimmable panoramic
sunroof to block out the glare.

The spacious interior is based on the human-centred tazuna concept of building the cabin
around the driver, with intuitive placement of controls for ease of operation as well as
welcoming all occupants with thoughtful appointments.

The RZ 450e takes the Lexus Electrified portfolio to nine vehicles, joining six hybrid-
electric vehicles (HEVs), the NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle (PHEV) and the fully
electric UX 300e (BEV).

Lexus Australia leads the way in sales of luxury cars with electrified powertrains, with
almost half (47.3%) of Lexus sales in the first nine months of 2022 being either HEV,

Lexus boss John Pappas said the RZ heralds the transition of Lexus into a BEV-centred

“This is a luxury SUV for customers wanting the latest in Lexus zero-emission technology
and innovative design,” he said.

“The RZ expands our portfolio of electrified vehicles, moving Lexus ever closer to our
ultimate goal of a sustainable society.”

Final RZ Australian specification and pricing will be announced closer to introduction in

About Chris Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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