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By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter
LEXUS PHILIPPINES has officially launched the all-new RZ 450e battery electric sport utility vehicle (SUV), signaling the company’s entry into the local battery electric vehicle (BEV) segment. The Japanese automaker had a launch event at its dealership in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig on Tuesday last week for the RZ, which is priced at P4.828 million for the lone 450e variant.
The RZ 450e has a range of about 470 kilometers owing to its 71.4-kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery which is expected to retain “at least 90% of its capacity after 10 years of driving.” According to Lexus Philippines, the RZ 450e has a front motor that makes 150kW and 266.3Nm, and a rear motor that produces 80kW and 168.5Nm, bringing its total output to 230kW. With this, Lexus pegged that the RZ 450e could accelerate from a standstill to 100kph in just 5.3 seconds.
The automaker added that the RZ 450e comes with an 11kW on-board charger for its charging needs, while its consumption is estimated at 16.8kWh or 18.7kWh per 100 kilometers.
“Battery recharging when connected to a three-phase power supply takes around six-and-a-half hours; using a one-phase supply the time is around 10 hours; connected to a DC fast-charging system, an 80% recharge can be accomplished in about 30 minutes,” Lexus Philippines said.
The RZ 450e is 4,805-mm long, has an overall height of 1,635mm and width of 1,895mm, while its wheelbase is at 2,850mm. For an easier size comparison, the RZ 450e sits in between the midsize NX and large RX crossover offerings of Lexus.
“The RZ uses both front and rear eAxles, which work in conjunction with the Direct4 all-wheel drive control system to adjust the vehicle’s posture, traction and power distribution, according to the driving conditions,” Lexus Philippines said.
The RZ 450e has single-projector bi-beam LED headlamps, panoramic roof, power folding door mirrors, and the brand’s Seamless e-Motion design that expresses the performance, driving pleasure, and refinement of an all-electric vehicle.
The RZ 450e has 20-inch alloy wheels, employing 235/50 tires at the front and 255/45s at the rear.
For safety, some of the features touted by the RZ 450e are the Lexus Safety System + 3 system that includes: Pre-Collision System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Tracing Assist, Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam, and Adaptive High-beam System.
The RZ 450e’s interior has a plethora of amenities such as eight-way power seats for both the driver and front passenger, an eight-inch TFT multi-information display, a 14-inch Electro Multi-Vision touch display that has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charger, multi-color ambient illumination, electric parking brake, and a 10-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.
Prospective buyers of the RZ 450e have many colors to choose from, as Lexus Philippines is offering the vehicle in Aether Metallic, Sonic Copper, Sonic Chrome, Sonic Quartz, Sonic Iridium, and Graphite Black.
STRONG DEMAND EXPECTEDLexus’ parent company, Toyota, is banking on the strong demand for EVs to propel the sales of the RZ 450e, which is imported from Toyota’s Motomachi Plant in Japan.
Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. First Vice-President for Vehicle Sales Operations Danilo C. Cruz told BusinessWorld during an interview at the sidelines of the launch event last week that Lexus is aiming to sell around five units of the RZ 450e per month.
Mr. Cruz added that the RZ 450e is “competitively priced” compared to competitors such as the BMW iX and iX3. “We’re assessing that the demand is really strong. But, as an initial (target), it is five units a month,” Mr. Cruz said. “That’s where we are now, and then we will order depending on the customers. I believe we are competitively priced,” he underscored.
Meanwhile, Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri said during his remarks at the RZ 450e’s launch that there is a need to review the process of EV waste disposal and follow the country’s sustainability initiatives.
“Just as we reduce the carbon footprint of our vehicles, we must also review all the steps from manufacturing to waste disposal and ensure that every single step is designed to respond to the needs of our planet,” Mr. Zubiri stated.
He added that there is a need for more charging ports and other EV-related infrastructure across the country. “Advances in these areas of better waste disposal and more accessible charging ports will not only provide a smoother transition in green transport but it will also create job opportunities for skilled Filipino workers. Some Asian countries are still going hybrid because of the lack of charging stations. We really have to put that infrastructure in place,” Mr. Zubiri said. “We in the Senate are ready to work with you towards a greener transport sector.”