I’m always excited to see more electric vehicles coming to Australia and the Lexus UX 300e is certainly another welcome addition. This is the first EV from Lexus which we recently learnt from Toyota, will transition to a dedicated EV brand.
The first offering includes an electric motor that delivers 150kW of power and 300Nm of torque. This speeds the car to a fairly modest 0 to 100km/h time of 7.5 seconds. If you’re upgrading from an ICE vehicle, this will likely be multiple seconds faster than what you’re used to, but certainly doesn’t threaten any records. Unlike other EVs we’ve seen, there is no option, at least not yet, for a dual-motor variant or a bigger battery for a longer range.
This power comes from a 54.3kWh battery pack which is good for around 360km of range. As most EVs now look to 500km and beyond, this is certainly a compromise but typically a decision to include a smaller battery is a decision made to hit a particular price point.
Given Lexus is a premium brand, this was never going to be a cheap car, however a starting price of A$82,516 driveway, really isn’t representative of the performance or range on offer here.
If you bump up to the Sports Luxury model, you’ll see the price tick past $90,600 for the driveway price in Victoria, For the extra dollars you do 18″ rims, up from the default 17″, a Moon Roof, LED headlights, a heads-up display, automatic high beam and some other nice-to-haves, but it’s a lot to ask $8k for.
The price gets even more challenging when you consider this isn’t just a trade-off between battery and price, Lexus clearly has much work to do on efficiency, offering just 191 Wh/km (lower the better). By comparison, the Tesla Model Y offers a combined EPA rating of 168 Wh/km and while it’s not yet available to order in Australia, it is coming in 2022 to compete with the UX 300e.
When it comes to charging, unfortunately, you’ll find a CHAdeMO connector in the rear quarter panel for DC fast charging. For those not familiar with EV connectors, it’s safe to say CHAdeMO is the HD-DVD and CCS2 is Blu-ray. Buyers will get 3 years of free charging at Chargefox DC Faster which can provide a full charge in 80 minutes, or at home on regular AC charging in 6.5 hrs.
Inside the car, we see a fairly traditional approach, with Lexus designers clearly not opting to take a full re-think on the journey to reset for electric vehicles as many others do. The steering wheel for example is very traditional, with lots of buttons, with the exception being the paddle-shift now adjusts the 4-level regenerative braking setting.
Naturally being an SUV, it addresses much of what Australian’s have come to love about the larger vehicle. There’s more storage available than a sedan or hatchback and as expected you’ll find a powered rear door with a kick sensor.
When it comes to technology, the Lexus has a decent list on offer here. It starts with a 10.3″ display that supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. There’s a wireless charger for your phone, an adjustable regenerative brake, a pre-collision safety system with pedestrian & daytime cyclist detection (I guess you’re on your own at night).
Naturally, most of the modern safety assists are available with the Lexus badge, even if they have their own names for some of these. Included is Active Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Trace Assist (LTA), Road Sign Assist (RSA, Speed Signs Only), Automatic High Beam (AHB) and Parking Support Brake (PKSB) with Obstacle & Vehicle Detection.
Overall I welcome the Lexus to Australia and I hope we see many more EVs from them, but I’d be very wary in recommending this car, given there’s likely much more competitive offerings coming soon.