The unusual incentive clearly exists to make up for the RZ 450e's poor range.
A new Lexus Reserve Program is being made available as a complimentary rental car service for owners of the company's first EV, the RZ 450e crossover, in what looks like a tacit acknowledgment of the RZ's poor range.
Under this program, which we discovered on the Lexus website, owners of the RZ 450e EV receive 30 complimentary reserve days, which they can use over a three-year period to reserve a gas-powered Lexus.
Although Lexus says that this program exists to mitigate the lack of charging stations in certain areas, it more likely has to do with the issue of going on a long road trip in a vehicle that has a 220-mile range at best or an even poorer 196 miles when equipped with 20-inch wheels.
So, if you're worried about your Lexus RZ 450e leaving you stranded on longer journeys, you can pick up a gas-powered Lexus for the trip instead. But this is only a small consolation for one of the RZ's fatal flaws, the other being its high price.
A 220-mile maximum range doesn't cut it for a $60,000 luxury crossover, especially now that there are multiple alternatives on the market. The Tesla Model Y and mid-size Cadillac Lyriq can travel much further on a full charge, for instance.
If the RZ 450e had a decent range, we'd find the Lexus Reserve Program to be a welcome bonus to ownership of the vehicle, giving customers a chance to try out other models now and then. Other automakers like Porsche also allow you to rent selected models for brief periods, but at a cost. It's clear here that Lexus is trying to soften the blow of the truncated range.
Nevertheless, renting a gas-powered Lexus is as easy as a few clicks on the brand's app. Applicable to both 2023 and 2024 RZ models, you can choose from a Lexus model in the sedan, SUV, hybrid/electric, coupe, and performance categories. That depends on whether your dealer has your chosen vehicle available, but it would be pretty sweet to spend a few days in an LC Coupe or LS full-size sedan.
Don't expect to be able to choose the colors or trims that are to your liking, though.
Via the app, and only after the RZ 450e has been added to the customer's account, one can choose a pick-up location, drop-off date/time, and more. Customers can also easily track the number of remaining rental days, but if you use all 30 days, you won't be able to purchase more, so you'd better plan your road trips carefully within that three-year window.
Besides its range issues, the RZ 450e isn't coming with complimentary public charging, home chargers are not complimentary, and it doesn't qualify for a tax credit since it isn't manufactured in the USA. At this point, it's a stylish EV but one that only makes sense for Lexus fans who already have a gas-powered RX in the garage for lengthier trips.
The Lexus Reserve Program is simply a band-aid on a gaping wound, but if the brand sees fit to equip a long-range battery at some stage without significantly increasing the price, the RZ may still have a fighting chance.
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