By on August 22, 2019

Electric concept cars are often a snoozefest, nothing but vaporware bait aimed at the techie crowd, but a vehicle coming to Tokyo’s annual auto show in October will likely herald a production vehicle. Specifically, the Lexus brand’s first EV.

Both Toyota and its premium division plan to field a total of 10 electric models by the middle of next decade. If a report detailing the Lexus concept is anything to go on, the brand’s first electric offering might be boxy, modestly sized, and — if Lexus designers really do plan on emulating an older concept — possibly pretty ugly.

A report in Autocar claims the concept appears in the form of a “tall, boxy and city-friendly hatchback” bearing a futuristic design. If you’re picturing the BMW i3, you’re not alone. However, the publication states that Lexus will likely take cues from its 2015 LF-SA concept when designing the production car.

“We feel that our future could resemble this design,” Lexus vice-president Koji Sato told Autocar.

Google up an image of the LF-SA and tell us you dig that design. Frankly, the first thing that comes to this writer’s mind when viewing the LF-SA is one of those fat roll-covered human-bug hybrid monsters from a schlocky 1980s horror film, but hey — eye of the beholder, and all that. Besides, 2015 was a long time ago and production vehicles almost always tone down the outlandishness of the earlier concept.

Indeed, there’ll be some visual elements tying the unnamed EV to the current Lexus range.

Lexus design boss Koichi Suga said that, while company brass have yet to sign off on the design, we’ll be able to expect some form of vestigial spindle grille.

“Cooling still needs to happen,” said Suga. “The spindle grille is also a representation of personality, and it’s the face of the car, so it’s really a necessary part of the brand identity. But because it’s an EV, [customers] are also going to expect something that’s futuristic, something more non-traditional.”

According to the report, one feature bound for the Tokyo concept is a pair of infotainment screens positioned on either side of the steering wheel. Besides that, few details exist. Both Toyota and Lexus EVs will share a common architecture developed for use beneath the company’s future EVs. While Sato claims he’d like to see hub motors powering each wheel independently, don’t expect to see that feature among the first crop of Toyota EVs.

“We will continue to pursue this exciting opportunity,” he said.

Interestingly, Sato mentioned that the Lexus brand is still in need of an entry-level car to tempt younger buyers into the brand. It would seem that there’s some high-level debate occurring as to the validity of this plan.

The Tokyo Motor Show kicks off on October 23rd.

[Image: Lexus]

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9 Comments on “October Reveal to Hint at First Lexus EV...”

  • avatar
    R Henry

    A range of Lexus electrics will clearly illustrate how BEVs have limited appeal, regardless of brand or features.

    No doubt the cars will be well made, dead reliable, fashionable, and cheaper than competing Tesla models. But they will be glacially slow sellers.

    Entries from Germany will suffer the same fate.

    Once these automotive powerhouses sustain huge losses over extended periods, they will decide to NOT further invest in BEV tech, because it is going nowhere good. They must learn this the hard way apparently.

    From my perspective, only FCA has played the smart game here.

    • 0 avatar

      Everyone gave FCA crap for dropping their FWD 4 cylinder cars, fast forward 3 years and suddenly the other two have an epiphany. FCA and Toyota seem to be taking a measured approach and I think it’s safe to say they’re going to end up on the winning side when every other automaker is fielding 4-5 electrics with monthly sales in the hundreds.

    • 0 avatar

      The problem is that the external penalties for NOT making electrified vehicles continues to rise. While it’s unlikely for PHEV or BEVs to be the majority any time soon, mainly because of cost factors, they have to be blended into the fleet. It’s a tight juggling act balancing what has to be build versus what people will pay for.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    “possibly pretty ugly”
    -As a Lexus owner, I love the “ugly” grill because you’re the ones who have to look at it. At a stoplight, I veer to the left of the lane and pull up close to the car in front so that its driver gets a mirrorful of predator face. Just to be sure, I flash the high beam to get his attention.

  • avatar

    So this is the CT replacement. CTs are popular in cities (the only place where they make any sense at all) and an EV replacement for the CT will sell just fine. Can they price it so they don’t lose money? That’s the real question.

    They would also do great with a BEV in the NX class and I’m sure that’s coming, well, NXt.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “because it’s an EV, [customers] are also going to expect something that’s futuristic, something more non-traditional”

    Lexus is reading the EV script from 2010. People don’t want to buy a car that looks like a science project.

    “the Lexus brand is still in need of an entry-level car”

    Note to Lexus – You’re NOT an entry-level brand!

    They clearly don’t know what they’re doing.

  • avatar

    Looking at the picture of the front of the car I wonder if Nike is a partner.

  • avatar
    Andre Robinson

    Nike Swooshes?!?! It’s not getting my money.

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