Lexus takes steps to avoid Toyota's range row with RZ

Tom Barnard

7 Mar 2023

Lexus’ has taken steps to ensure its new all-electric RZ is not blighted by the same criticisms around its range and consumption as the sister models from Toyota and Subaru.

The Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra have been heavily criticised by customers and the media because the real-world range is much lower than expected and the models are not as efficient as expected – especially in cold weather.

The Lexus has achieved official WLTP range figures of between 251 and 270 miles, depending on wheel choice. This compares to 286-317 miles for the Toyota version, which has less power and is available with two-wheel-drive.

Chris Hayes, director of the Lexus Division in the UK, said there were several measures the company had taken to ensure the RZ’s range was more predictable and the car was more efficient. These included new software to ‘open up’ another 15 miles of range when the meter says zero. Currently, the bZ4X displays 0 miles when there is around 30 miles’ worth of energy left in the battery, he said.

To counter the cold-weather performance, the Lexus software has been calibrated so it heats the cabin more gently and the system includes a humidity sensor to use energy more intelligently.

These changes would also be rolled out to the Toyota bZ4X and the car’s official WLTP In addition, Lexus’ innovative radiant knee heaters will be fitted to around 80% of the car sold. These have added around 8% to the car’s range in cold weather tests.

If drivers are still in a panic about getting home without a charge, the RZ features a fourth setting in the drive modes, called ‘Range’ which restricts the performance and kills the air conditioning to maximise efficiency.

Lexus is confident about the longevity of its 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery too, with Chris Hayes saying it is expected to retain at least 90 per cent of its capacity after 10 years of driving.

The RZ will arrive in the UK in early summer, costing between £62,600 and £72,100.

Lexus RZ 450e, interior showing Apple CarPlay on screen, with yoke drive by wire steering The RZ's heating system uses infra red panels which consumer less energy

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