The first Lexus full-electric vehicle on Toyota’s e-TNGA platform will be the RZ — a low-slung crossover.
The RZ will use four-wheel-drive technology to “deliver an engaging and rewarding on-road driving experience, establishing a new reference in the segment,” Lexus Europe head Spiros Fotinos said.
One of the few technical details Lexus released about the RZ was the car’s all-wheel-drive system, which is called “Direct4.” The system controls the electric motor on each axle to switch between front-, rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive “in a blink of an eye,” Fotinos said.
The system will deliver “incredible cornering and road holding performance” he added.
The RZ will also have the steer-by-wire system already shown in the upcoming Toyota bZ4X full-electric crossover, which also uses the e-TNGA platform.
The steer-by-wire system will allow Lexus to use a similar ‘yoke’ style steering wheel as the bZ4X that can switch ratios to give sensitive steering at high speed and fewer turns during low-speed maneuvers.
“The benefit is that the steering wheel does not have to be round anymore, and is not simply as a gimmick,” Fotinos said in an apparent nod to Tesla, which has fitted a yoke wheel in the new Model S without variable ratio steering.
The different shape of the steering wheel will give drivers a clearer sight of instruments. “This will allow us to go even further in our Tazuna cockpit design philosophy, grouping all commands in the line of sight of the driver to increase safety and convenience,” Fotinos said during a media event in Brussels on Tuesday.