The RZ 450e EV should uphold the brand's strong reputation for dependability.
Quality, durability, and reliability will remain key priorities for Lexus even as it moves into the electric era with more technologically advanced vehicles like the new RZ 450e electric crossover.
Recently, Lexus emerged as the top-rated brand for vehicle dependability in the J.D. Power 2023 US Vehicle Dependability Study, with the NX and RX being named winners in their respective compact premium SUV and mid-size premium SUV categories. We could quote numerous other studies with similar results.
At the press launch of the RZ 450e EV in France this week, we asked Yushi Higashiyama - Assistant Chief Engineer involved in the development of the Lexus RZ - how Lexus plans to retain its incredibly high standards for quality and reliability in the EV era.
For the Lexus team, it starts with the same mindset and philosophy long before the car reaches showrooms.
Asked which steps have been taken to ensure high-quality standards for EVs, Higashiyama said: "The mental mindset when we started development is - we didn't start off [intending to create] a BEV. We wanted to create a Lexus BEV. It had to embody all the standards [of the Lexus brand]. And so what happens is, when you start off with that mindset, each individual engineer takes a look at how [they] can embody these core values using the BEV technology."
For the new RZ, Lexus says that the focus on quality and durability can be seen in the lithium-ion battery of the RZ, which is guaranteed to retain at least 70% of its capacity over 10 years of use. That's a worst-case scenario, though, with the brand saying it's "confident" that the actual capacity retention will be closer to 90% based on the company's long experience with batteries.
The RZ's new steer-by-wire system, which Lexus says requires considerably less wheel twirling as the driver's inputs are communicated electronically and not mechanically, has also been carefully developed to ensure dependability. Even if the system loses its primary power supply, a "fail-safe provision of processors and an emergency power supply" kicks in automatically to ensure the vehicle remains controllable.
While we can only accurately assess the reliability and quality of the RZ once it has been on sale for some time, we do hope it doesn't succumb to any of the maladies that affected its platform-sharing sibling, the Toyota bZ4X, which faced a problem where its wheels could fall off.
If Lexus can maintain its impeccable quality standards as its EV lineup grows, this aspect will continue to set it apart from its more temperamental German rivals.
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