Lexus is confident that electric powertrain technology will enable the automaker to build better off-road vehicles. According to Takashi Watanabe, president of Lexus, the company can replicate the driving experience of classic 4x4s like the 70-Series Land Cruiser with the tricks it already has in its repertoire. Unlike other manufacturers that prioritize wicked acceleration for driving thrills, Lexus aims to create intentional, secure, and stress-free driving experiences.
Watanabe highlighted that electric vehicles (EVs) offer instantaneous torque, providing maximum acceleration as soon as the accelerator is pushed. However, he questioned whether intense acceleration equates to a good driving experience. Lexus believes in creating vehicles that respond to the driver’s request without overwhelming them. The company aims for secure and comfortable communication between the driver and the car, ultimately resulting in an enjoyable and fatigue-free driving experience.
Lexus plans to offer a different experience compared to brands like Jeep, Ford, and Toyota. While these brands prioritize feedback from the vehicle, Lexus aims to provide a more composed experience for those who invest in premium vehicles. The company’s approach has already been implemented in the 2024 Lexus GX Overtrail, which successfully incorporates batteries into its ladder frame.
Watanabe also mentioned that Toyota and Lexus can apply lessons learned from the electric AE86 project, which aimed to replicate the sound and feel of an internal combustion engine in an electric vehicle. By using speakers positioned to recreate engine vibrations, the electric AE86 provided users with a similar sensation to driving a traditional vehicle. This level of attention to detail is indicative of Lexus’ commitment to providing a nostalgic driving experience even with electric powertrains.
The goal for Lexus is to control the movement of vehicles using battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and refine the control of drive force. By focusing on drive force control, Lexus aims to replicate the stability and character of iconic models like the Land Cruiser 70-Series. While it remains to be seen if Lexus will be able to recreate the feel of throwback 4x4s through drive modes, the company’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of electric powertrain technology is evident.
- The Drive