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Lexus Planning to Offer Plug-In Hybrids?

Lexus LF-FC Lexus Beyond

Lexus will introduce plug-in hybrids and a hydrogen fuel cell LS by 2020, according to a Fleetworld interview with Lexus UK managing director Ewan Shepard:

“We will bring plug-in hybrids through in time and I think that’s where the industry will go. We’ve already got our hybrids, so we’re safe in the interim, but some of our models will have a plug-in – although we can’t confirm specifically which ones yet.

“But the long-term is about full EV and fuel cell. So it’s not unsurprising that we’ve got a whole division in Japan dedicated to EVs and another dedicated to fuel cells, as part of the $9.7bn a year we spend on research and development.”

Pushed on when we’re likely to see a hydrogen-fuelled Lexus, Shepherd said: “We haven’t got a date for that, but it will be on the back of LS. We revealed the concept two years ago, which showed the capability within Lexus. There’s no firm commitment in time to introduce it, but I would imagine the next two or three years is realistic.”

A fuel cell variant of the LS is expected to be part of the Japan’s hydrogen power push during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. It’s a natural fit, as the quiet operation and advanced technology matches the flagship perfectly.

Lexus Toyota Plug-in Badge

The plug-in hybrid, on the other hand, is something new — Lexus (and Toyota in general) has long avoided the technology in favor of the standard hybrid powertrain.

The new Toyota Prius Prime has a decent electric range of 25 miles (43 kms), but little horsepower. Shifting that 1.8L four-cylinder engine to Lexus limits the application to the CT and possibly the upcoming UX crossover — any other models would likely need a more powerful powertrain option.

Which models should be equipped with an extension cord? Let’s hash it out in the forums.

Comments
  • GSCT
  • September 19, 2017
All I can say is "get on with it"!

In my opinion Lexus being early to the party for hybrids is offset by being late with plug-ins. And any plug-ins that they do offer should have decent electric only range, something like 100 plus kilometres - if you're late, you'd best be ready to smoke the competition. As to which models, the forthcoming UX and NX would be a good place to start.
I already thought after the prius prime that Toyota as corp is shifting from the standard hybrid to full plug in hybrid having the best of the 2 worlds
maiaramdan
I already thought after the prius prime that Toyota as corp is shifting from the standard hybrid to full plug in hybrid having the best of the 2 worlds
phev sales are very small, they mostly sell in markets where there are big incentives to do so. On the other hand, Toyota sells over 1.5m hybrids per year, while overall all sales of plugins (bev and phev) were 730k in 2016.

So just like everyone else, I assume they will do least amount of range that gives them incentives in those markets, to keep the pricing down. New hybrid system is designed to easily offer plugin version by enlarging the battery.

good read on plugin market:
https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/GlobalEVOutlook2017.pdf
This has to be the most exciting thing I've heard from Lexus this year. Now my opinion for Lexus' future has gone up from pessimistic to neutral.

PHEVs can be the best thing since sliced bread or an awkward compromise that does nothing brilliant. The whole point of PHEV is that they can cover most daily commute (especially in highly urbanized region like Asia or Europe) in EV mode only, while still retaining the long-range capability of an ordinary hybrid. In that sense they are the cheapest solution that gives the most cut in carbon emissions, in the short term. They don't work that well because it's hard to optimize a battery both for energy density and power density without compromising reliability, part of the reason why the Prius Prime has 'abysmal' EV range.

spwolf
phev sales are very small, they mostly sell in markets where there are big incentives to do so. On the other hand, Toyota sells over 1.5m hybrids per year, while overall all sales of plugins (bev and phev) were 730k in 2016.
Regular HEVs just won't cut it in the near future. The fuel economy test cycles in EU/China/Japan favor PHEVs very heavily because a great portion is start-stop scenarios in cities. While HEVs burn little fuel in this scenario, PHEVs literally use zero. This is why PHEVs have twice the MPG in fuel economy tests in these regions. To meet CAFE regulations in these markets it's way safer to go for the PHEV option. The Prius family are the only hybrid models that can meet the 5L/100km requirement, so I won't be surprised if TMC's future hybrid lineup will be plugin-heavy with non plugin trims as budget options.
ssun30
This has to be the most exciting thing I've heard from Lexus this year. Now my opinion for Lexus' future has gone up from pessimistic to neutral.

PHEVs can be the best thing since sliced bread or an awkward compromise that does nothing brilliant. The whole point of PHEV is that they can cover most daily commute (especially in highly urbanized region like Asia or Europe) in EV mode only, while still retaining the long-range capability of an ordinary hybrid. Even in U.S. where commute is predominantly on highways PHEVs still do a little better. In that sense they are the cheapest solution that gives the most cut in carbon emissions, in the short term. They don't work that well in real world because it's hard to optimize a battery both for energy density and power density without compromising reliability, part of the reason why the Prius Prime has 'abysmal' EV range.



Regular HEVs just won't cut it in the near future. The fuel economy test cycles in EU/China/Japan favor PHEVs very heavily because a great portion is start-stop scenarios in cities. While HEVs burn little fuel in this scenario, PHEVs literally use zero. This is why PHEVs have twice the MPG in fuel economy tests in these regions. To meet CAFE regulations in these markets it's way safer to go for the PHEV option. The Prius family are the only hybrid models that can meet the 5L/100km requirement (2020), so I won't be surprised if TMC's future hybrid lineup will be plugin-heavy with non plugin trims as budget options.

The really hard one to beat is EPA's 2025 standard (55MPG or 4.3L/100km across the fleet). But by then there will be enough BEVs to dilute CAFE.
PHEVs make sense only if government gives you around $7k-10k to recoup the costs and this is where people buy plugins of any kind. Without that kind of support, sales are small. Please look at pdf i linked above for various sales and govt support numbers. It is an excellent read.

As to the CAFE, I already explained before how TMC already meets 2021 fuel economy numbers for EU. China is different - however in China, you get 4:1 benefit when you sell plugin, so percentage of sales soon to be required is more like 2.3% instead of 8% thats written in the law. And in the USA, they also meet the requirements and have enough credits.

So the main reason for them to do anything is to sell in markets where govt gives big support to plugins - like in norway, where market share for plugins in 35% overall due to govt incentives. Thing is that even in Norway, Toyota hybrids sell really well and they are #2 on the market (best in Western Europe?). So even now, these clean requirements benefit Toyota.

It is also true that some governments are phasing out phev incentives and favoring only BEV sales. These are usually ones that have local industry that produces BEVs, like France which has Renault doing Zoe. And for these kind of markets, they need standalone EV to reap the sales. However this has nothing to do with EU 2021 goals, which they should meet already in 2017.
spwolf
PHEVs make sense only if government gives you around $7k-10k to recoup the costs and this is where people buy plugins of any kind. Without that kind of support, sales are small. Please look at pdf i linked above for various sales and govt support numbers. It is an excellent read.
Took me a whole night to download a 71-page PDF for whatever reason, will have a read after work.
The Panamera's top end model is now the plug in hybrid Turbo......

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