Lexus to Skip Plug-In Hybrids, Move Directly to Fuel-Cell and Full-Electric Powertrains

Lexus LF-FC

Lexus plans to skip plug-in hybrid technology and move directly to fuel-cell and full-electric vehicles, according to an Auto Express interview with Lexus Europe vice-president Alain Uyttenhoven:

Uyttenhoven told Auto Express at the Frankfurt Motor Show: “We do not need to have plug-in hybrid vehicles. It’s a loophole in the market. We will reach the [CO2] targets without them.”

As legislation becomes more stringent, Lexus would need to progress beyond its range of hybrids, Uyttenhoven admitted. “Soon we will have to reach 75g/km,” he told us. “At that time pure hybrids will not be sufficient. The two things we can do are introduce plug-in or introduce electric.”

These comments come after Lexus UK managing director Ewan Shepard clearly stated Lexus would release plug-in hybrid vehicles in the near future.

The first Lexus fuel-cell vehicle is expected to be a variant of the LS flagship sedan, and Auto Express believes a full-electric version of the LS & LC coupe are next in line.

Uyttenhoven believes the key to Lexus success is filtering EV technology down to smaller models like the CT & NX:

“In Europe, the more successful electric car sales are at the high end,” Uyttenhoven told us. “But in the premium market, 50 per cent of cars are sold below 40,000 Euros. If it’s more than that, how will people afford it?”

When asked whether Lexus’s first pure-electric venture could be a small, premium EV, Uyttenhoven explained: “It could be. A lot of people who have reached a certain level of wealth like to have a small premium car more than a bigger, more mainstream brand of car.”