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Lexus Has Radical New Plan For Electric Cars

Technology / 5 Comments

This is what's called thinking outside the box.

There's a fairly standard battery electric vehicle design architecture carmakers are using at the moment. It involves locating the big battery under the floorboards for improved center of gravity, and the electric motors at front and rear. It's also possible for these motors to be located at the wheels. Lexus, however, is cooking up something even more radical. Digital Trends has learned from Koji Sato, vice president of Lexus, that the luxury Japanese automaker will not only soon reveal a master financial plan for future EV platform investments, but also a potentially new and radical way to underpin these vehicles.

Instead of those motors front and rear, Sato's research and development team is working on in-wheel electric motors. That's right. A motor for each wheel.

This would enable each of the four wheels to operate independently, though this technology still has a way to go before it's production-ready. "The in-wheel motor is just a concept, it will take years to make that technology possible, but we will continue to pursue this exciting technology," Sato stated.

Another interesting revelation is that Lexus is considering a new design language that could mean the end of the controversial spindle grille. This is not to say Lexus won't continue with dramatic styling, but sometimes it's necessary to evolve a specific look. The spindle grille has become such a trademark look for Lexus that company officials admit it's hard to completely abandon. Evolving it will be the better choice.

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Furthermore, given that Lexus plans to greatly increase its EV lineup, that large spindle grille may no longer be necessary. Remember, the design was developed to help cool internal combustion engines. Electric vehicles still require cooling but less of it. Perhaps downsizing the spindle grille is what's next. Chances are, the next phase of this design language will appear before those in-wheel motors, but this all goes to show Lexus is moving full steam ahead in both technology and design. It can't afford not to.

We could see a preview of this updated styling language in October at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show where Lexus will reveal a new EV concept.