The newly revealed LF-ZC concept previews a luxury electric hatchback/coupe that will go on sale in 2026.
All-wheel drive and steer-by-wire will be standard.
Next-gen Prismatic battery packs promise serious range.
Lexus has already launched its first EV, the underwhelming RZ. But now the Japanese brand is showing a much more promising electric future with the LF-ZC concept, freshly unveiled at the Tokyo auto show. The company promises that a production version of this car will be hitting the streets in 2026.
Presented by Lexus chief branding officer Simon Humphries as "a fusion of physical and digital technology," the LF-ZC is a strikingly styled concept that will sit on an all-new electric architecture. The company has also shown a concept version of an even larger and grander sister model, the LF-ZL SUV, that will share the same platform.
The LF-ZC's design is based around a new philosophy that Lexus describes as "provocative simplicity." From the front it certainly looks like a Lexus, with a new take on the brand's elongated-check-mark headlight design and triangular black shapes in the bumper that are reminiscent of the apertures of the LFA supercar. From the side it becomes much more elaborate, with concave and convex shapes incorporated into fenders and doors. The roofline is low and coupe-like, falling gently toward the back of the car.
Lexus has not released any performance numbers or claims but says that the LF-ZC is 187.0 inches long, 1.6 inches longer than the previous Lexus IS sedan. A height of 54.8 inches makes it impressively low by EV standards. The targeted drag coefficient of 0.20, if realized, is impressively sleek too.
On the Inside
The concept's interior seems to be further from production reality, unless Lexus is intending to follow Tesla with a cut-down yoke in place of a conventional steering wheel. Although not clear in the images, Lexus promises that controls have been concentrated into two touch-sensitive digital pads, with vehicle functions including drive mode selection done by the one on the left and infotainment by another on the right.
Lexus says that both the LF-ZC and the larger LF-ZL will use a next-generation prismatic battery pack that will allow it to "achieve approximately twice the range of conventional EVs, alleviating range anxiety concerns." That’s a big claim, and one we'd expect to come with an EPA rating of over 500 miles.
E-Sports and AI
They will also come with the new Arene OS, which offers a high level of adaptability and even the possibility of mixing up the real and virtual worlds. Lexus's promise that "customers will be able to engage in e-sports using steer-by-wire technology inside the vehicle" sounds close to terrifying. Arene will also bring an AI-enabled virtual function called Butler that will use self-learning functions to help customize vehicle settings for owners, and the LF-ZC will also be able to project information onto its windshield.
The LF-ZL is bigger and larger than the ZC at a substantial 208.7 inches long and sitting on a huge 131.9-inch wheelbase. The images released show the combination of conventional front doors with sliding rears. It would sit at the top of the range.
The clock is already ticking on Lexus’s race for electrification; the brand has committed to be EV only by 2035. In Europe, the company recently trademarked four names—LF-ZC, LF-ZL, LF-ZV, and LF-ZA—suggesting that this story is only half told at this point. We look forward to bringing you more.
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