Luxury carmaker Lexus confirmed today that the brand will bring its first fully electric vehicle – the UX 300e small SUV – to Australia in time for the 2021 Melbourne Cup, slated to be held in twelve months from now.
The 2022 Lexus UX 300e, as the battery-electric crossover will be known when it launches in Australia, packs a 54.3kWh battery that gives it a range of about 310km on the European WLTP testing cycle.
A high-output motor provides the UX 300e with 150kW of power and 300Nm of torque – positioning this fully-electric version at the top of the UX lineup.
Two combustion powertrains are currently offered in conjunction with the Lexus UX. The UX 200 is a two-litre four-cylinder petrol producing 126kW/205Nm, while the UX 250h petrol-electric hybrid makes 131kW of power by combining its two energy sources. In its most expensive form, the UX hybrid costs $63,500. Expect the UX 300e to enter some way above this.
It’s the UX hybrid that is currently winning over a majority of customers, with a Lexus spokesperson telling Chasing Cars that over 50 percent of orders in October were for the UX 250h that consumes 4.5L/100km of fuel.
A Lexus spokesperson told Chasing Cars that the especially strong performance of the UX hybrid shows that “the UX 300e is the right car to bring to Australia as the first Lexus EV, with a younger audience who are ready to embrace EV ownership.”
But while the hybrid does not need to be plugged in to operate, the UX 300e is a fully electric vehicle that dispenses with a traditional combustion engine.
Recharging the battery-electric UX takes about 50 minutes when using a DC fast charger, though the maximum DC charging speed is a modest 50kW.
Buyers who install a wallbox in their garage will be able to recharge the UX 300e in about seven hours domestically. Wallbox takeup is likely to be strong, as recharging from a 240-volt three-pin wall socket would take close to 24 hours.
The UX 300e was globally revealed in May of this year, but Lexus Australia were cautious about confirming the vehicle for local deliveries due to concerns about the availability, reliability and ease of use of public charging solutions.
That concern – that charging needs to be as seamless as other elements of Lexus ownership – remains, and Lexus Australia will assemble a “dedicated team” to “anticipate the needs of UX 300e customers.”
“We want to find Lexus solutions to some of the barriers of EV ownership,” a brand spokesperson told Chasing Cars. “We feel that [in 12 months’ time] we will be able to explore some best practice solutions.” Lexus says they are targeting “unrivalled customer care” in the EV space.
It was a comment echoed by the chief executive of Lexus Australia, Scott Thompson, who said that between now and November 2021, Lexus will “ensure” that ownership of the electric UX will “equal the unwavering standards of owning a Lexus self-charging hybrid electric vehicle.”
It remains to be seen what this will mean in substance, but it is a fair guess that Lexus will partner with one or more charging infrastructure providers to offer customers more peace of mind – and perhaps subsidised or free charging – while on the go.
Globally, Lexus are also backing the UX 300e by offering a million kilometre or ten year warranty on the battery. The brand is also warranting that the battery will not degrade by more than 30 percent in that time – meaning owners shouldn’t see fully-charged range slip below 220km after ten years.
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