Lexus Australia has locked in the specification of its first electric vehicle, the UX 300e, ahead of its release in November this year.
The UX 300e is Lexus’ first battery-electric vehicle (BEV) and will be the new halo car in the marque’s UX small SUV range.
While the TNGA-C based UX was not designed from the outset as a BEV – we’ll have to wait until next year for Lexus’ first ground-up electric vehicle – it is an important stepping stone for the Japanese luxury brand’s electric future.
With the UX 250h hybrid accounting for over 50 percent of UX sales in Australia, Lexus Australia has identified the small SUV segment as a good fit for a younger demographic who may be more open to different forms of propulsion.
When the UX 300e goes on sale in November it will be available in two levels of specification: Luxury and Sports Luxury. Both grades are based on the existing variants of the same name, but the electric Lexus gets some extra comfort and convenience features like a heated rear bench and steering wheel.
Lexus has yet to confirm Australian pricing, that information along with the rapid charging infrastructure and Lexus’ EV-specific Encore Platinum program and will be detailed next month at the car’s launch.
Lexus Australia chief executive Scott Thompson said of the brand’s first electric vehicle: “the UX 300e… [offers] a new standard of performance and handling in our luxury compact SUV and a soon-to-be-announced ownership package that will set a new standard for BEVs.”
Though the UX platform is one fairly accustomed to batteries in series-parallel hybrid form, this is the most electrified Lexus by a long shot.
Like the Hyundai Kona Electric, the UX 300e has a single electric motor mounted under the bonnet – where a typical UX would have a 2.0-litre petrol engine – and sends power to the front wheels exclusively. Outputs are 150kW/300Nm, enough to get the UX 300e to 100km/h in 7.5 seconds making it comfortably the quickest UX available.
Interestingly, the electric motor is around half the weight of the combustion engine and is mounted lower down, improving the BEV’s centre of gravity compared to the regular UX.
Under the floor, Lexus has fitted a 50kWh usable (54.3kWh gross) lithium-ion battery pack which is integral to the chassis to increases torsional stiffness over the UX 200. In Australia, Lexus quotes a NEDC range measurement of 360km for the UX 300e.
However, in the WLTP cycle – which is far more accurate in the real world – the UX 300e’s range is rated at 305km, with a combined energy consumption of 16.7kWh/100km in mild weather.
The UX 300e will be capable of 50kW DC fast-charging. That may be some way off the 350kW possible in the Porsche Taycan, but with a 50kWh battery the UX 300e can charge from 0-80 percent in 50 minutes.
While it’s based on the same TNGA-C platform and uses all the same hardpoints as the UX 250h, the fully electric UX 300e has some extra challenges to overcome – namely, the loss of engine sound to mask road noise.
To curtail excess noise and maintain Lexus’ signature feel, the UX 300e has been treated to extra sound deadening in the wheel arches and inside the cabin.
Meanwhile, outside the UX 300e can be distinguished by its unique 17-inch alloy wheels, ‘electric’ badge on the rear doors and UX 300e boot badging,
Moving the exhaust from under the boot floor has improved practicality with an additional 11 litres of boot space compared to the UX250h.
The UX 300e Luxury will be the most affordable electric Lexus and bases its specification on the UX250h Luxury with Enhancement Pack 2 fitted as standard.
That means a 13-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, 10.3-inch display with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster, DAB radio, power-adjustable front seat and steering column, LED headlights and a power tailgate are all standard.
On top of that, the UX 300e gets a unique shift knob with satin chrome plating and knurled finish on the volume control and drive-model selector. Buyers will be able to choose between black or cream leather upholstery.
Levelling up the opulence is the Sports Luxury with a panoramic sunroof, insulated glass, adaptive LED headlights, head-up display, 360-degree monitor and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Buyers are able to choose from a broader palette of interior colour with White Ash, Ochre and Zephyr blue leather upholstery available while the Sports Luxury gets unique air vent design, and a textured material inspired by Japanese ‘Washi’ ornamentation for the door panels, instrument cluster and armrest.
Finally, the UX 300e adds a new paint colour – Sonic chrome – which sits alongside the current options of Sonic Quartz, Mercury grey, the pictured Celestial blue and more.
On the safety front, Lexus outfits the UX range with a generous suite and the 300e is no different with adaptive cruise control, lane-trace assist, frontal AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind-spot monitoring, eight airbags and front and rear parking sensors all standard.
Australian pricing will be confirmed at the UX 300e’s launch in November this year, however it is on sale in the United Kingdom where it starts from £43,900 on the road, which equates to AU$81,950 at the current conversion rate. The sole UK model is almost identical in specification to the Australian luxury variant, so expect the UX 300e range to start around $80,000
That would put Lexus’ small EV SUV slightly proud of the Mercedes-Benz EQA 250 ($76,800 before on-roads) and Volvo XC40 Recharge ($76,990 before on-roads), though we’ll be able to compare pricing more accurately when the UX 300e launches next month.
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