Lexusis unveiling its first electric vehicle for the U.S. market—steering yoke and all—on April 20, making it a relative latecomer to the luxury EV market.
A steering yoke
Lexus hasn’t revealed
much elseabout the new EV prior to its April 20 embargo. But based on teaser photos released by the automaker, the most obviously unconventional feature of the new electric vehicle is its steering yoke.
Steering yokes aren’t new; Tesla had such a yoke on its Model S Plaid, which Consumer Reports has previously stated complicates some basic driving tasks.
Autoweekreports, the Toyota bZ4X electric SUV, slated for release later this year on the same platform as the RZ 450e, also features an optional steering yoke in addition to a traditional steering wheel. Toyota noted that the main reason for yoke-style steering is to make the instrument cluster more visible.
It differs from Tesla’s yoke offering by adjusting the steering ratio, with only 150 degrees of rotation needed to complete a normal turn. It also features “drive by wire” technology, which reduces the rotational input required to make a turn.
Compared with the multiple hand-over-hand rotations on a typical steering wheel, this seems to be an improvement over what yoke-style steering has offered previously.
If modularity is the automaker’s focus, it will likely bring that same system to the Lexus RZ 450e.
Is Lexus late to the EV party?
Similar to its
parent company, Lexus has been pretty slow to bring its electric vehicle offerings to market.
The unveiling of the first EV from Toyota’s luxury marque sees the company playing catch-up compared with its competitors to electrify its lineup. The company said last year that it will bring 20 new vehicles to market by 2025, with just half of those being electric, hybrid or hydrogen-powered. Additionally, Toyota declared that Lexus will produce electric-only models by 2035.
GM’sCadillac marque announced its first luxury EV offering, the Lyriq, in late 2020 with deliveries starting in 2022. Ford’s Lincoln brand announced in 2020 that it’s working with EV startup Rivian to develop the marque’s first all-electric vehicle, rumored to be the Lincoln Mark E, with a debut likely this year.
Lexus actually debuted its first electric vehicle in 2019, dubbed the
UX 300e. It was only available in China and Europe as a compliance model to meet Chinese and European environmental regulations and didn’t release outside of those markets.
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