Koji Sato: Electrified Vehicles are “A Big Opportunity” for Lexus

Lexus LF-1 Limitless

Autocar India has an interview with Lexus International executive vice-president Koji Sato on the brand’s plans for electric vehicles:

How is Lexus readying for the advent of new-age technology like electric drivetrains and autonomous control? Some say Lexus has been lagging behind on some of these fronts.

Sato: Well, I would say that is not entirely correct. We believe that when it comes to electrified and autonomous vehicles, we also need to look at the market conditions and the state of the available infrastructure. And it’s important that we match the readiness of both those aspects. So in that sense, we’re not behind as far as new technologies go.

With EVs coming in sooner rather than later, do you think this is going to be an opportunity for you to redefine the Lexus brand?

Sato: Yes, I think so, especially with EVs. It’s a big opportunity for us to change the structure of the vehicles by using batteries. We are the pioneers of hybrid technology and have enough knowledge to manage hybrid systems. That will help us enhance EV technology, so it’s a great opportunity to make a better car.

While all signs point towards a major EV push from Lexus, all of the brand’s major competitors already have electrified products available in dealerships.

(That said, this fits with the Lexus strategy of waiting for sustainable growth before releasing products — both the NX and UX crossovers were behind the release curve of competitors, and both models have quickly established significant market share in their respective segments.)


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To be honest, I think I will pounce once the UX300e (or any Lexus BEV) is made available in Canada (as a sign of desperation lol) maybe even if it isn't AWD as long as it's somewhat affordable. If my wife needs bigger cargo space, she can take our 16 RAV4H lol.


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Since we won't get the latest 330e here, I would be really grateful to hear somebody's driving experience with that vehicle.

Oh those Germans really know how to impress with spec sheets. 12 kWh battery with 41 mi range in EV mode. That's abmormally high considering this is U.S. numbers. The 330e would need to be 20% more efficient than the Prius Prime or the Tesla Model 3. So I highly suspect the rated range is in blended mode (ICE allowed to recharge the battery) like Gen.1 Prius PHV and Honda Insight PHV. I hope someone can confirm my speculation.

And it also has that 'xTraBoost' mode to gain favorable reviews. Auto journalists will absolutely love the temporary 'extra boost' to 282hp. Such 'cool to have but not necessary' feature will probably never be on, say, an IS PHV because it harms reliability. Lexus will just stay with the standard 215hp on the regular hybrid and every review will complain how slow it is compared to the competition.


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@ssun30 , there is something wrong, it's almost impossible BMW was able to do a 330e as efficient as Prius Prime... 20% better efficiency can't be right...