Concept Car

Lexus LF-Z Electrified concept car gives a peek at brand's future

The car incorporates modern and future Lexus design.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

Lexus is putting the pedal down. The company is working to accelerate the production of new models as its moves to diversify its lineup. Currently the brand offers five sedans, eight SUVs, and five coupes, with slightly less than half of those being hybrid variations of other vehicles on the roster.

By 2025, the luxury arm of Toyota will introduce 20 new or improved models, including more than 10 electrified models including battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), and other electric vehicles. The company is also is committed to making sportier versions of their more traditional vehicles.

Lexus aims to be a carbon neutral company throughout the lifecycle of its entire model lineup by 2050. To help achieve that goal, in March 2024 Lexus will open a new business and technical center that will allow various Lexus teams to more cohesively work together.

Lexus LF-Z Electrified: Exterior

Lexus LF-Z Electrified: Exterior

Photo courtesy of Lexus

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The LF-Z Electrified concept car is a conceptual BEV that puts driving performance, styling, and technology today in one concept car package. The exterior of the mode furthers the Lexus design story, carrying with it many hallmarks of today's vehicle design while infusing new elements. Lines are clean, simple, and directional, drawing the eye forward and back toward simplified design at the face and rear.

It is driven via all four wheels, a technology called Direct4. Lexus says that the system has many advantages, "By controlling the front and rear drive wheels independently, the system can provide the appropriate drive system ...for each driving situation. The system controls the distribution of driving force through the seamless orchestration and calculation of accelerator pedal application and steering wheel operation, resulting in powerful acceleration and exhilarating cornering performance that aligns near-perfectly to the driver's will."

Engineers have given the car the "Lexus Driving Signature", a connected drive experience that made its debut in the refreshed 2021 Lexus IS. This new model is said to raise that driving style to new heights by "evolving the basic performance of the vehicle".

Lexus LF-Z Electrified: Interior

Lexus LF-Z Electrified: Interior

Photo courtesy of Lexus

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The BEV hides its battery longitudinally under the floor of the vehicle, attaching it to the chassis and adding rigidity. This, in addition to other design attributes is said to help mitigate vibrations and noises that tens to permeate the cabin.

Lexus designers have created the cockpit with open and minimalist design. Engineers have given the car futuristic tech that interacts with the driver by learning their behavioral traits and patterns. When it does that, the car's infotainment system will be able to offer proposed routes and other lifestyle choices. Mercedes-Benz's infotainment technology already does this.

A panoramic glass roof and simple, molded forms emphasize the car's connection with its environment, according to the automaker. Look closely at it all. Lexus says the design shown here suggests the direction of next-gen Lexus interior styling.

This concept includes numerous technologies already applied in luxury and mass market vehicles, including digital key, which allows phone-as-key technology and makes delivering packages to a vehicle easier. An E-Latch system extends and retracts door handles depending on when they are needed.

Reclining and massaging seats, a next-generation Mark Levinson audio system, and other features complete the Lexus concept car package.

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New electric SUV

Honda teases its first EV

The Prologue will go on sale as a 2024 model.

Honda

Honda is nearing the unveiling of its first electric vehicle, the Prologue, and today the automaker gave us our first glimps of the new vehicle. It's just a sketch, but Honda did share some production details and information on its product roadmap.

Honda DealerHonda plans to sell half a million EVs by the end of the decade. Honda

Honda says the Prologue will be an adventure-ready SUV "capable of satisfying everyday driving and weekend getaways with a strong hint of the well-received Honda e in the front fascia." The SUV was developed in Honda's Design Studio in Los Angeles, and was designed with an eye on Honda's global EV models. Honda said it focused on aerodynamics and fine-tuning the body to reducelines and improve range.

The Japanese automaker developed the Prologue alongside GM, but it has other EVs coming to market by 2026. By 2030, Honda says it will release 30 new EVs globally with a production volume of two million units. The co-developed vehicle is the first, but the rest will be built on Honda e:Architecture. In 2027, the automaker will begin building and selling a line of affordable EVs using the architecture developed with General Motors. Honda says it plans to sell half a million EVs in North America by the end of hte decade.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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