Here's proof that Lexus is finally building a plug-in hybrid.
Lexus already offers hybrid versions of its current models such as the ES Hybrid, GS Hybrid, LC Hybrid, LS Hybrid, and NX Hybrid, but the Japanese automaker has yet to offer a plug-in hybrid model. Lexus has refused to build a plug-in hybrid as it wanted to use its resources to focus on fuel cell and EV technology. Last year, Lexus finally unveiled its first fully electric car, the UX300e, and now a trademark filing suggests the Japanese automaker is preparing to unleash a new PHEV.
As discovered by the Mach E Club forum, Toyota filed patents for the "NX450h+" and "NX350h" names to the European Union Intellectual Property Office on April 14, suggesting that the Lexus NX will get the plug-in hybrid treatment.
This would be Lexus' first-ever PHEV. In the US, Toyota also submitted patents for the "NX250" and "NX350," so the NX lineup could be expanded with new trims, but it isn't clear if they will use new powertrains. Since the trademarks for the NX PHEV were only filed in Europe, it isn't clear yet if they will be offered in the US. If not, it seems like a missed opportunity to boost sales of the already-popular crossover and compete with the BMW X3 PHEV.
Powertrain details are being kept under wraps for now, but there's a good chance the Lexus NX PHEV will use the same setup as the Toyota RAV4 Prime.
The Toyota RAV4 Prime combines a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with a lithium-Ion battery, a booster converter, and two electric motors to produce 302 horsepower while delivering 39 miles of electric range - the highest range of any PHEV on the market.
This would be a huge improvement over the current Lexus NX Hybrid, which uses an electrified 2.5-liter inline-four cylinder to produce a combined 194 hp and 152 lb-ft sent to all four wheels through a continuously variable automatic. If the Lexus NX uses the same setup, it would also offer more power and range than the BMW X3 PHEV, which has 292 hp and 20 miles of range. Lexus's new PHEV SUV will also likely be based on the next-generation NX. The new Lexus NX was expected to start production this summer, but a delay seems likely due to the ongoing disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.