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Increased range, new features for the all-electric Lexus UX 300e

posted on 28/06/2023
Increased range, new features for the all-electric Lexus UX 300e

Wide-ranging upgrades have strengthened the appeal of the Lexus UX 300e, the urban crossover launched three years ago as Lexus’s first all-electric model. These revisions enable the UX 300e to go further between charges; raise the cabin’s aesthetic appeal, comfort, and convenience; and make the car – Lexus’s “Creative Urban Explorer” – even more enjoyable to drive.

The changes also affirm how well-suited electrification is to the characteristics of Lexus vehicles, complementing quiet refinement with rewardingly responsive road behaviour. 

The most notable change is a new battery system which increases driving range by more than 40 per cent, to up to 279 miles in the combined WLTP cycle. Meanwhile, the Lexus Electrified driving experience benefits from detail alterations to the car’s suspension, body, and chassis.

Inside the car, the most evident improvement is the revised multimedia system. This has greater connectivity, faster and easier operation, cloud-based navigation, and larger eight and 12.3-inch touchscreens. The interior is also offered with new upholstery choices.

The upgraded UX 300e debuted in UK showrooms in spring 2023. Its sister model, the self-charging hybrid electric UX 250h enjoyed a series of upgrades in summer 2022.

Significant increase in driving range

As Lexus’s first BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle), the UX 300e has evolved from the brand’s 18 years of leadership in electrification, which started with the introduction in 2005 of the RX 400h, the world’s first luxury hybrid. Today, more than 2.4 million electrified Lexus cars are on the road around the world, 550,000 of these in Europe. The Lexus Electrified initiative continues to drive progress through the brand’s world-class know-how in battery design, manufacturing, and battery management systems. This is creating a new generation of vehicle refinement and driving pleasure, with the class-leading quality and reliability that are hallmarks of the Lexus brand.

The latest development in Lexus’s electrification programme is replacement of the UX 300e’s original 54.3kWh lithium-ion battery by one with 72.8kWh capacity. This powers a compact motor/generator which drives the vehicle’s front wheels, producing 150kW (201bhp) and up to 300Nm of torque for effortless, linear acceleration. The powertrain also captures energy when the vehicle is braking or coasting and converts it into electricity, stored in the battery.

Previously the UX 300e offered a range in the WLTP combined driving cycle of 189-196 miles, depending on options such as wheel size. The new battery improves this by more than 40 per cent. Models running on 17-inch wheels now achieve a WLTP combined range (depending on options) of up to 279 miles; those on 18-inch wheels have a combined range (also depending on options) of up to 274 miles.  

Aerodynamic efficiency helps maximise the UX 300e’s range. Shutters in the lower front grille open and close automatically, depending on battery state and how much airflow is needed for cooling. This helps reduce the car’s coefficient of drag to Cd0.31. The underfloor covers have been enlarged, compared to other UX models, and the bottom-surface of the battery made flat and smooth, for clean underbody aerodynamics.    

Enhanced driving experience

The UX 300e benefits from detail changes to enhance the driving experience. Fine-tuning the electric power steering and shock absorbers has sharpened the driving dynamics, as has increasing the body rigidity with additional spot-welding points. These alterations further improve the car’s planted feel and responsiveness, characteristics accentuated by the low centre of gravity and placement of the battery pack beneath the floor.

Lexus Drive Mode Select allows the driving experience to be tailored to suit the driver’s preference or the journey. Normal drive mode provides an optimal balance between driving performance and range; ECO mode maximises energy savings across all driving conditions by smoothing the throttle response and moderating air conditioning operation; Sport mode delivers sharper throttle response and increased steering feel.

Drivers can also switch between four levels of deceleration, using paddle shifts on the steering wheel, to suit the type of road, their natural driving style and their preferred feeling of vehicle control. These range from providing the driving feel of a conventional combustion engine vehicle to harnessing the more linear deceleration of a pure BEV. The optimum deceleration level also enhances control on snowy roads and other low-friction surfaces.   

New multimedia systems: easier to use, greater functionality

The 2023 UX 300e features new multimedia systems – Lexus Link Connect on the entry model and Premium Pack and Lexus Link Pro on the Takumi Pack. Equipped with a touchscreen in place of the previous touchpad control, this is more intuitive to use than its predecessor, offers increased functionality, has greater connectivity and responds more quickly to commands.

Screen sizes have been increased, from seven to eight inches (Lexus Link Connect), with sharper graphics, and from 10 to 12.3 inches (Lexus Link Pro), with high-definition. For easier interaction, the screen has been moved 143mm further forwards.

A new voice recognition system includes the option of using the “Hey Lexus” on-board assistant. This responds to voice commands to make it easier to connect to phone calls, operate audio and climate controls and search the internet. The new voice recognition system is programmed to understand more conversational terms, to recognise whether it is the driver or front passenger speaking and to distinguish between background noise and commands so that it is no longer necessary to mute the audio.

To make journey planning easier and help avoid traffic delays, “always connected” cloud-based navigation is provided as standard, giving access to real-time road and traffic information. Additionally, the Lexus Link Pro system includes embedded navigation, maintaining operation even if cloud connection is unavailable. To make it easy to find out about such things as local parking, charging points, charging speed and price per kWh, “Hey Lexus” can also be linked to cloud-based information.

The new system provides smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay (wireless connection) or Android Auto (wired connection). Connectivity also extends to the Lexus Link smartphone app, which allows the driver to remotely lock or unlock the doors, trigger the hazard lights and set the air conditioning to cool or warm the cabin before getting into the car. The app can also check the battery’s charge-level, available range with the air-conditioning on or off and time remaining until charging is complete.

The space on the centre console where the multimedia touchpad was previously located is now home to controls for the heated front seats or, where these are not specified, a small storage cubby. The console also houses a USB-A port for playback of high-resolution sound sources and two USB-C ports for device charging. A new illuminated tray in the console, in front of the air conditioning control panel, has the space to hold a large smartphone. 

The UX’s multimedia system can save up to three people’s customised settings for multimedia, audio, and navigation. Updates to the system software can be delivered over-the-air via the car’s upgraded DCM (Data Communication Module).

Additional safety system features

Upgrades have been made to the UX’s Lexus Safety System+. The car is now equipped with Intersection Turning Assist, which detects oncoming vehicles and pedestrians crossing in the opposite direction when turning at an intersection. Emergency Assist has been added, which automatically makes small corrective inputs to the steering to help prevent the vehicle from unintentionally departing from its lane. The Dynamic Radar Cruise Control has gained Curve Speed Reduction, which automatically adjusts the vehicle’s speed to the suit the radius of a bend in the road ahead.

These additions complement the existing Lexus Safety System+ features: the Pre-Collision System can detect pedestrians at night and objects such as motorcycles in the car’s path during the day; Lane Tracing Assist helps the driver keep the vehicle centred in its lane and can provide support when driving through bends; and Road Sign Assist recognises traffic signs to provide information to the driver via the multi-information display or the optional head-up display.

Other features which make driving easier include (according to model grade) a Panoramic View Monitor for a near-360° view around the car, to help when negotiating confined spaces; Parking Support Alert, which warns of an impending collision using clearance sonars; Lexus Parking Assist to help with reversing into parking spaces; Rear Cross Traffic Alert with auto-braking, which operates when the car is reversing; and a Blind Spot Monitor, which detects vehicles in adjacent lanes obscured from the driver’s sightline.    

A favourite among Lexus buyers

The UX was Lexus’s best-selling model in the UK in 2022, with 3,767 sales, behind the all-new NX introduced that year. The UX 300e took more than 10 per cent of these – a proportion that is expected to rise in the coming years.

*Article Source www.lexus.co.uk

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