Lexus Shows Yoke Steering in Upcoming RZ 450e EV
Lexus reveals first interior view of the upcoming RZ 450e battery-electric model, with Tesla-style yoke steering.The RZ 450e, which will be the automaker’s first EV model to be offered stateside, will share the e-TNGA platform with the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra, but will offer AWD as standard.The 2023 Lexus RZ 450e is expected to go on sale in the US in the second half of 2022, with pricing and EPA range to be announced closer to the start of sales.Lexus will take the wraps off its first US battery-electric model later this month, revealing this week that the RZ 450e will debut on Wednesday, April 20. The RZ 450e’s exterior design has already been largely revealed in February of this year, so the upcoming formal unveiling will mostly fill in some of the blanks regarding the specs of the battery-electric crossover. And as a preview ahead of its April reveal, the automaker has given the world a glimpse of yoke-style steering. Depending on one’s viewpoint, it will either be a relief or a disappointment if the US market won’t actually receive the option of the yoke, which has been confirmed only for the Chinese-market Toyota bZ4X at the moment, complete with steer-by-wire. But it’s clear Lexus will be boldly going where Tesla has gone before with the introduction of the somewhat rectangular steering on the updated Model X and Model S. Lexus has yet to indicate whether this will be an optional item in the US version of the electric crossover, or how this option will be spread across different markets.Inside the new RZ 450e, Lexus won’t be following other manufacturers when it comes to infotainment screen size or positioning: The screen is neither gigantic nor a replacement for the myriad buttons that other EV makers, including Tesla, VW, and Ford, have tried to banish from their cabins. In addition, the infotainment touchscreen is positioned substantially lower than the instrument panel, so Lexus won’t be following the trend of two joined screens positioned on the dash in an open-book format. And it’s not getting rid of buttons either, including the rotary drive mode selector on the center console that will allow to flip back between reverse, neutral, and drive, with a separate park button positioned just north of it. The Lexus RZ 450e will share its e-TNGA platform with the Toyota bZ4X, which arrives stateside later this year, as well as the Subaru Solterra due here in 2023. Unlike the two others, the Lexus version is expected to offer all-wheel drive as standard, with its dual-motor setup drawing juice from what could be a 72.8-kWh (gross) battery pack. The RZ 450e is expected to serve up quite a bit more power than its 215-hp and 248 lb-ft Toyota bZ4X sibling, relying on two motors producing 201 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque each. This could certainly ding its overall range (while also boosting its price), if the Lexus model ends up getting a 72.8-kWh pack as predicted, likely landing around the 250-mile mark when it comes to the EPA rating. We’ll have a better idea of the model’s specifications later this month, ahead of the start of sales in the second half as a 2023 model.
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