Those batteries are in short supply.
After becoming one of the oldest models in its segment, the 2022 Lexus NX and 2022 Lexus NX Hybrid have arrived, boasting four different drivetrain options. The all-new NX was just revealed, and we have immediately been drawn to the top NX 450h+ plug-in hybrid model. This version borrows the PHEV drivetrain from the Toyota RAV4 Prime, a vehicle we deemed the best RAV4 ever.
There is a huge issue with the RAV4 Prime, though. Due to production and supply problems, Toyota can only produce the Prime in limited numbers. Bundled with sky-high demand for this stellar model, we've already seen $10,000 dealer markups...on a RAV4.
Speaking with Lexus during a roundtable discussion, CarBuzz asked if the NX 450h+ might suffer from similar supply issues. If you were waiting for your chance to buy a more upmarket RAV4 Prime, the news looks cautiously optimistic.
"Globally, we expect the electrified powertrains (HEVs and PHEVs) to be more than half [of sales]," said Takeaki Kato, Lexus NX chief engineer. "In terms of the supply chain, there has been a tight supply of batteries in the past. For the NX, we are working on the supply chain management, working with local distributors to satisfy market demand as much as possible."
We don't expect Toyota and Lexus to solve these supply chain issues overnight, so the NX 450h+ will likely sell in low volume relative to the overall product mix. We anticipate the turbocharged NX 350 and hybrid NX 350h will make up the bulk of sales, with the base NX 250 acting as a low-volume lease special.
Though the news regarding the NX PHEV isn't too rosy, we did manage to extract some information that should please prospective owners. Aside from the new 2.4-liter turbocharged mill in the NX 350, all the NX engines are shared with the RAV4. Specifically, the NX 250 has the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder used in the base RAV4, the NX 350h uses the RAV4 Hybrid's setup, and the aforementioned NX 450h+ is identical to the RAV4 Prime. In theory, this means you should be able to run these cars on regular (87-octane) fuel rather than the recommended premium (91-octane).
"The recommended octane level that Lexus provides is the octane required to reach the maximum potential of what the vehicle was developed for," Kato explained. "With that being said, the vehicle will operate with an 87-octane gas rating. If you are using a lower octane, the ignition timing will adjust."
So there's some good news for current NX owners looking to trade in on the new model; you can save a few bucks at the pumps.