Lexus' First EV Won't Break the Internet

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
lexus first ev wont break the internet

Lexus’ first production electric vehicle carries a name that should spur fond memories of a boxy Mercedes-Benz sedan. Yes, the 300E was a desirable German car. Even today, the E 300e is a compelling electrified midsize alternative to those other sedans on the market.

But we’re not here to talk about Mercedes-Benz, even though it’s hard not to when you name a new vehicle the 300e. In this case, it’s the Lexus UX 300e… and it’s not for you, as Corey would say.

By “you,” we mean North Americans. The UX 300e unveiled this week in China will not make it to these shores; rather, the subcompact CUV will only be made available to buyers in China, Japan, and Europe.

The big intro came Friday at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition — a trade show that understandably hasn’t gotten much press over here, what with the almost concurrent LA Auto Show and its controversial debuts. Front-drive in nature, the UX 300e is the first vehicle launched under the brand’s Lexus Electrified product strategy.

Lexus boasts of the 300e’s “anxiety-free 400km” range, which translates to 249 miles on the New European Driving Cycle. Were it to come here, the EPA would rate it slightly lower.

The added weight of the 54.3 kWh underfloor battery pack means a lower center of gravity for drivers, but it also meant changes were necessary elsewhere. Specifically, the platform needed additional braces, while the shock absorbers required a recalibration of their damping force.

Power? It’s there, and it’s more plentiful that in other UX variations. The front-mounted motor generates 201 horsepower, with 221 lb-ft of torque on tap. Compare that to the 169 hp and 151 lb-ft in the entry-level UX 200 or the 181 combined horsepower in the UX 250h.

Again, you can’t get one here, but Chinese and European buyers can expect to receive theirs sometime next year. Lexus has a different plan for America. While the brand hasn’t revealed (or even identified) a specific model just yet, it plans to tailor its electric products for the markets in which they’re sold. The little UX is right-sized for Europe and China, but U.S. customers might demand a beefier, more practical-sized EV.

The EV introductions at this week’s LS Auto Show seem to back up that assertion.

[Image: Lexus]

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  • Luke42 Luke42 on Nov 24, 2019

    I've been wondering why Lexus hasn't been Toyota's high-tech EV brand. I really want to love Lexus, but the predator grille and the lack of EVs have both kept me away. Tesla really is the company to beat, at least for my future dollars.

    • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Nov 24, 2019

      "I really want to love Lexus" You cannot "want" to love something or somebody. Love is an intensive feeling that you fall into without presenting formal explanation why you would do that. It just happens. Love is blind. You can fall in love even with Lada (the car).

  • Teddyc73 Teddyc73 on Nov 25, 2019

    Ok, time for the ole "break the internet" trope to die. It's stupid.

  • SCE to AUX I charge at home 99% of the time, on a Level 2 charger I installed myself in 2012 for my Leaf. My house is 1967, 150-Amp service, gas dryer and furnace; everything else is electric with no problems. I switched from gas HW to electric HW last year, when my 18-year-old tank finally failed.I charge at a for-pay station maybe a couple times a year.I don't travel more than an hour each way in my Ioniq 1 EV, so I don't deal much with public chargers. Despite a big electric rate increase this year, my car remains ridiculously cheap to operate.
  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)
  • Ja-GTI So, seems like you have to own a house before you can own a BEV.
  • Kwik_Shift Good thing for fossil fuels to keep the EVs going.
  • Carlson Fan Meh, never cared for this car because I was never a big fan of the Gen 1 Camaro. The Gen 1 Firebird looked better inside and out and you could get it with the 400.The Gen 2 for my eyes was peak Camaro as far as styling w/those sexy split bumpers! They should have modeled the 6th Gen after that.