Australian website Car Advice spoke with Lexus RX chief engineer Takayuki Katsuda about the lack of a plug-in hybrid option for the new crossover:
“At this moment of time as you see, we are not ready for the PHEV for this generation RX. That is a fact. So we are going to launch without a plug-in hybrid.
“Yes, we already understand about the necessity of the plug-in. And this solution must be one of the solutions. But at the same time not only Lexus but corporate Toyota is now thinking about another solution, the fuel cell, for the [Toyota] Mirai.
“At the moment battery technology is limited, in case of having twice or three times more distance, then twice or three times more heavier the batteries have to be put in.
This train of thought is interesting, because it brings to mind the mystery RX prototype that was recently spotted in the USA. Let’s pull up an image just for fun:
Due to the position of the camouflage and dealer demand for a three-row SUV, it was assumed this prototype was hiding extra seats — we did our best to measure against the existing RX model, but the results were inconclusive.
However, what if this cladding is hiding an alternative fuel option and Lexus is testing a fuel cell RX? This is pure speculation on my part, but there eventually has to be other models using the technology besides the Mirai.
What’s your feeling on this? Should Lexus be looking at a plug-in hybrid or fuel cell version of the RX?