Lexus is preparing to unveil its first electric car next month. And with that in mind, Toyota's luxury selection is showing off a concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show this week that teases all sorts of distant ideas that may or may not make it into future electric vehicles, like motion control, augmented reality, self-driving technology, wheeled engines and even drones. .
The LF-30 Electrified, as it is called, is a wedge-shaped coupe packed with crystalline angles and projections both inside and out. It seats four, with the driver and front passenger essentially getting their own first-class cockpits and almost matching futuristic displays, while the rear passengers are treated to bucket seats with "artificial muscle technology" that can "shape the occupant."
The large windshield continues all the way up and over to the rear of the car, and Lexus imagines using this glass roof as a display for information such as "a realistic star-filled sky, user favorite videos and even navigation" for rear passengers ̵[ads1]1; an idea Lexus unknowingly refers to as "SkyGate." LF-30 Electrified passengers will be able to interact with SkyGate through voice control, or with Minority Report style gesture control. Artificial intelligence will be able to to recognize the "voices of the occupants" to help adjust air temperature, sound or driving settings to the taste of passengers, assist with navigation, and even come up with "suggestions for activities after arrival."
Meanwhile, the window's blur can be adjusted to either let in or block outside light, Lexus also emphasizes that the concept is designed with sustainability finished materials, such as charred cedar and recycled metal. And the car's exterior is decorated with dynamic lighting.
The LF-30 Electrified concept uses a variety of futuristic technologies on the more mechanical side of things, ranging from plausible to outrageous. It uses electric motors in the wheel (rather than placing motors on each axle) that will allow for more dynamic driving, including something Lexus calls "attitude control", which essentially adjusts the performance of each engine in real time to keep the LF-30 composed in dynamic driving conditions. The car also uses steer-by-wire technology, which means that there is no mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the drive train, which allows the wheel to move forward when the LF-30 drives autonomously.
And of course The LF-30 Electrified concept has autonomous functionality. What self-respecting modern concept car wouldn't? Lexus does not go into detail about what controls this autonomous ability, since it does not really need to do so. Again, this is just the company that poses what can happen one day down the road.
That said, Lexus included a number of specifications that give us an idea of what the company is aiming for with its first electric vehicle (and what others will follow). The LF-30 Electrified is designed around a 110 kWh battery pack (then 10 kWh larger than what Tesla currently has on its way), which will deliver a range of around 500 kilometers (or about 310 miles) on Europe's WLTP test cycle. The car could go from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in 3.8 seconds, with a total power of 400 kW (536 horsepower).
But the best futuristic blossom might be "Lexus Airporter." That's what Lexus calls a "drone tech support vehicle," which can do things like bring luggage from an owner's doorstep right to the car.
That's honestly a lot but it's not very surprising. Lexus parent company Toyota has gone slower than most other car manufacturers to announce their electrification plans, despite leading on hybrid cars and even hydrogen cars. Now that Toyota is finally coming around and announcing what it wants to do with fully electric vehicles, it looks like Lexus has explained all the possibilities it can embrace as the car's luxury brand. The result is a concept car in which Lexus has bestowed many different wild ideas, and one that will someday look like a wild first knife in a more practical future.