Digital Trends spoke with Lexus executive vice-president Koji Sato about the brand’s plans for full electric vehicles, and received more detail than expected:
While full technical specifications remain under wraps, Sato revealed Lexus will soon invest a substantial amount of money into a platform developed specifically to underpin electric cars. His research and development department is also working on in-wheel electric motors, a setup in which the four wheels operate independently, though he conceded the technology isn’t ready for production yet.
“The in-wheel motor is just a concept, it will take years to make that technology possible, but we will continue to pursue this exciting technology,” Sato promised.
This technology likely goes hand-in-hand with the new solid state batteries and e-TNGA platform Toyota is developing for their upcoming wave of electric vehicles.
Electric cars currently on sale have simply replaced the conventional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) with batteries and electric motors, but the idea of in-wheel motors has been picking up momentum — the Nissan BladeGlider prototype utilizes a similar technology, and Japanese component company Nidec expects to start supplying OEMs with in-wheel motors by 2023.
(Announcing technology before an official debut is a new tactic from Lexus, and I hope to see more of this advance promotion in the future.)