Lexus set to be first in Toyota stable to dip toe in local electric vehicle market 

20th March 2023 By: Irma Venter - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

Lexus set to be first in Toyota stable to dip toe in local electric vehicle market 

The RZ 450e

Toyota’s premium vehicle arm, Lexus, is set to launch two battery electric vehicles (EVs) in the local market in the next two years.

The introduction of these vehicles will most likely be the Japanese car maker’s first entry into the South African EV market.

Lexus’ competitors, such as Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, already have a strong EV presence in the country.

Lexus’ first EV introduction is likely to be the UX 300e, which is currently under what the brand calls a ‘sample introduction phase’ in South Africa.

Should this prove successful, the model will be introduced ahead of what is likely to be the second Lexus EV – the RZ 450e.

The Lexus RZ 450e is currently scheduled to go on sale in South Africa next year. 

Lexus says it plans to have a full, global line-up of EVs in every market segment it competes in by 2030.

By 2035 – 12 years from now – it aims to sell only EVs.

The RZ 450e and its Battery Guarantee
The RZ 450e is Lexus’ first model to be developed as an EV from the outset. 

In terms of dimensions and footprint, the model sits between Lexus’ mid-size NX and the large RX crossover models.

The lithium-ion battery stack is contained in a sealed, reinforced structure to protect it in the event of contact with the road surface or a collision. 

The unit comprises 96 cells with a gross capacity of 71.4 kWh.

Lexus guarantees that the battery will retain at least 70% of its capacity after ten years. 

The manufacturer is confident, however, that actual capacity at that point should be at least 90%. 

Most RZ variants, running on 20-inch wheels, achieve a range of around 395 km in a combined cycle test. 

Those which use 18-inch wheels see the range extended by about 40 km. 

These ranges apply to performance from full charge to complete depletion of the battery.