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Lexus unveils its first electric car in the US – steering wheel not included

Lexus on Wednesday announced the 2023 RZ, the luxury brand’s first dedicated electric vehicle and the first Lexus electric model to go on sale in the United States.

Expected to arrive in dealerships later this year, the compact crossover will debut in the RZ 450e guise with a 71.4 kWh battery pack for a range of 225 km and all-wheel drive. .

RZ shares the e-TNGA platform with the Toyota BZ4X 2023 and Subaru Solterra 2023. But Lexus proposed the RZ It will be more fun to drive—Although with a strategy that puts affordability at the heart for Toyota EVswhile performance and range will be central to Lexus EVs.

Lexus doesn’t disclose combined power – only saying that the front engine produces 201 hp, while the rear engine makes 107 hp. To that end, the RZ gets more power (the BZ4X has 214 hp) and Lexus-specific Direct4 all-wheel drive. It uses speed, acceleration, and steering angle sensors to gauge how much torque will be sent to each axle, according to Lexus. It can also switch power off to one shaft to increase efficiency, according to the automaker.

2023 Lexus RZ

2023 Lexus RZ

The torque split remains between 40:60 and 60:40 during straight-line acceleration to help minimize throws. At corners, it begins to transfer power to the front wheels to improve response and steering, then sends more power to the rear wheels for grip when exiting corners, according to Lexus.

Charging information on the RZ has also been dropped for now. Dual motor version of bZ4X DC fast charging with a maximum output of 100 kw.

Lexus says the RZ will eventually be offered with wire-driven steering, including in the U.S. By eliminating the mechanical connection to the tires, this allows a 150-degree steering angle to lock to lock. That would allow the use of the steering shackles previously shown in the prototype versions of the RZ. However, a regular steering wheel will be the only option in the US at launch.

2023 Lexus RZ

2023 Lexus RZ

External appearance similar to LF-Z electrochemical concept from 2021, complete with an unadorned dashboard in the shape of the spindle grille Lexus applies to its internal combustion cars and a black painted roof. The latter will be an optional feature.

Pricing information for the 2023 RZ will be available closer to the US launch later this year.

The RZ isn’t the first Lexus EV. The automaker began selling an all-electric version of the UX crossover outside of the United States in 2019. In addition to the RZ, Lexus has revealed a electric sedans, SUVs and sports cars. A first Lexus plug-in hybrid—a version of NX—Also came this year.

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