Lexus unveils first EV, the UX 300e

John Beltz Snyder

UPDATE: A Lexus spokesperson has provided Autoblog with the following statement concerning U.S. sales of the UX 300e: "The UX 300e has been designed specifically for the Chinese and European markets. The U.S. will not offer the UX 300e, however, we have committed to developing a dedicated BEV that is purpose-built to offer the benefits and features that U.S. luxury buyers demand."

The original article continues below.

Lexus has unveiled its first fully electric vehicle and — surprise — it’s a crossover. The Lexus UX 300e is seeing its public debut in China, at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition.

Lexus tipped the world off to its next step in the luxury automaker’s “Lexus Electrified” campaign with a trademark filing. Now it has followed through, in what appears to be a trend, as more and more automakers enter the EV arena with formats that are hot as all heck right now: crossovers.

We only have a few specifications so far, but they’re interesting. The Lexus UX 300e has a 54.3-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that provides an estimated 248 miles of driving range based on the very generous and arguably outdated NEDC driving cycle — this would indubitably be rated much lower if tested by the EPA. The electric motor, located up front, is capable of a peak 201 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. It has a DC fast charging capability of 50 kW, which lags behind a lot of what we’re seeing nowadays (for instance, the Kia Niro EV is capable of 100 kW, and the Audi E-Tron can do 150 kW). Lexus’ press release doesn’t specify the charging standard, but that 50-kW capacity corresponds with the current maximum speed of the CHAdeMo charging standard.

The UX 300e promises a comfortable but exciting drive experience with a dual focus on NVH and driving dynamics. Drivers can control the experience with a number of driving modes, as well as paddle “shifters” that adjust the level of regen feel form the electric motor/generator. As for the sonic experience, Lexus says it has an “Active Sound Control (ASC)” feature that “transmits natural ambient sounds to allow for a greater understanding of driving conditions, and provides a natural feeling for the cabin's occupants.”

We have no word on whether the UX EV will make its way to the U.S. Lexus says it will go on sale in China and Europe next year, with a Japan introduction in 2021. Again, this is just a first step, and we’ll be curious to see what plans Lexus has for EVs here in the States.