Is an all-electric supercar in the pipeline as well?
Right now, you can buy a Lexus hybrid but not a plug-in hybrid. The latter powertrain, according to Auto Express, will never be offered on a Lexus. Alain Uyttenhoven, Lexus Europe chief, wants to be ahead of the curve by ignoring plug-in hybrids altogether and go directly to fuel-cell cars and pure EVs in the next few years. This is a bold move considering rivals like BMW and Mercedes-Benz each offer plug-in hybrid versions of some of their models. Uyttenhoven's confirmation also clarifies a rumor we heard a few days ago regarding the brand's future plans.
The writing is on the wall, powertrain technology speaking, and Lexus feels its R&D budget will be better spent on the future instead of something that already exists. The specific plan going forward will be to launch a hydrogen-powered luxury sedan based on the LF-FC concept in 2020, followed by several new EVs, both cars and SUVs. However, those EVs will tend to be on the smaller side, something Lexus also previously previewed with the LF-SA concept. Another reason behind Lexus’ decision is the expected more stringent emissions legislation, notably in Europe. If predications prove accurate, then that new legislation will literally make pure hybrids illegal, so Lexus had a choice: plug-ins or pure electrics and hydrogen cars.
Going with the latter was the practical smart choice. Although Lexus continues to neither confirm nor deny the existence of a new supercar/LFA successor program, skipping straight to EVs also opens the possibility for a new halo supercar. We certainly wouldn’t be opposed to that.