Lexus showed off its LF-ZC concept in Tokyo on Wednesday, signaling the future of the company's battery-electric lineup. The LF-ZC (is that the final name?) has the same flowing roofline we've come to expect from aerodynamic EVs, but with angular, aggressive styling that makes it look like a Transformer's egg.
Get used to it, though, because Lexus says the LF-ZC concept will go into production in 2026. That's a bit out, but shows Toyota's interest in claiming ground in the EV stake. Like Nissan and Honda, the automaker is perceived as behind in the EV race and is using the Japan Mobility Show to showcase its commitment to launching competitive EVs.
Lexus says the LF-ZC will sit alongside the flagship LF-ZL SUV when it launches. We'd like to think those are placeholder tags, but Toyota currently makes the bZ4x and RZ EVs, so it's hard to say the brand values easy-to-say names. In this instance, LF-ZC stands for Lexus Future Zero-emission Catalyst and LF-ZL stands for Lexus Future Zero-emission Luxury, in the same way RX technically stands for "Radiant Crossover." Regardless, the upcoming Zero-emission Catalyst and Zero-emission Luxury use all-wheel drive and Lexus' steer-by-wire system.
The company says both will use "next-generation prismatic high-performance batteries" that can double the range of conventional BEVs. But it isn't sharing details. There's no target for range, power, torque, charge time, or battery size. We know the overall ZF-ZL is 208 inches long, 79 inches wide, 66 inches tall, and has a 132-inch wheelbase. The ZF-ZC is 187 inches long, 74 inches wide, 55 inches tall, with a 114-inch wheelbase and a target drag coefficient of 0.2, but that's as specific as Lexus gets with numbers.
What we do know is that the LF-ZC and LF-ZL have all the technology you'd expect in modern luxury EV concepts. Their interiors are dominated by an array of screens, which will be powered by all-new "Arene OS" software. That should solve one of Lexus' biggest pain points. There's an AI-powered assistant, "Butler," to handle voice commands, which promises easy conversational control and preference learning. Over-the-air updates will be available, of course. Plus, Lexus says you'll be able to play e-sports using the steer-by-wire system, and then import settings from the digital world into your actual car. We'll have to see how that works in reality.
Finally, Lexus says it'll use "Giga Casting" to reduce production complexity, another industry trend. That seems to be the message with the LF-ZC and LF-ZL. Lexus is willing to play whatever game the German and American EV companies are playing. AI assistants? You bet. Screens everywhere? Of course. Over-the-air-updates? Naturally. E-sports using your steering wheel, for some reason? Why not!
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