The first fully electric Lexus SUV in the US, the RZ 450e, is now available to pre-order. Lexus is asking drivers to “experience the difference between an electric vehicle and an electric Lexus,” but is the RZ 450e worth more than a Tesla Model Y?
Under parent company Toyota’s command, Lexus has fallen far behind in the race to introduce a fully electric luxury vehicle.
After several years of neglecting fully electric technology to focus on hybrid and fuel cell tech, Toyota finally came around, announcing its luxury Lexus brand will go fully electric with a full range of zero-emission EVs by 2030.
Lexus revealed many early-stage concepts in 2021 designed to be “symbolic” of the brand’s transformation, finally unveiling its first production model based on the Toyota BZ4x.
As such, the RZ 450e rides on the e-TNGA platform, with a 71.4 kWh battery pack that features an up-to-220-mile driving range and 313 total system horsepower. In addition, its DIRECT 4 all-wheel-drive system and new steering control enable a dynamic driving experience.
Unlike the BZ4x, the Lexus EV will include the luxury feel with an intelligent 14-inch touchscreen display, a 13-speaker sound system, heated and ventilated front seats, a wireless charger, a panoramic sunroof, and more.
The Lexus RZ 450e is available in two options – Premium or Luxury. But up until now, we have not caught wind of what the price range will be.
Lexus RZ 450e is priced higher than a Tesla Model Y
According to Lexus’ website, the Premium RZ 450e trim prices start at $59,650, while the Luxury model will run you $65,150.
The RZ 450e luxury includes added safety features, advanced park, a 10-inch head-up display, acoustic front and rear side glass, and ambient lighting. For the RZ Premium, 18- and 20-inch rims are available; 20-inch split 10-spoke alloy wheels with a dark metallic finish are available for the Luxury.
As for the exterior, the electric SUV features a typical Lexus appeal with modern EV-looking upgrades. For example, the Lexus spindle grille is replaced by a spindle body that maximizes aerodynamics.
The Lexus RZ 450e will face stiff competition, especially with more established players like Tesla offering its Model Y with 330-mile range for a starting price of $54,990.
Lexus may have a challenging introduction to the EV market, with prices for its first electric SUV to hit the US upward of $60,000.
With the Model Y priced $5,000 lower and offering over 100 additional mile range, extensive charging network, etc., where will the Lexus fit in? Tesla has already caused several automakers to drop prices to remain competitive.
Will the RZ 450e fill the role it needs to spark Lexus’ transition to an EV-centered brand like it badly needs? It can, but it may be a tough sell at those prices.
Volvo’s electric SUVs, the C40 and XC40 Recharge, both start at $55,300 and $53,000 with more range and the brand’s impressive safety and tech features. Perhaps, more importantly, Volvo is releasing its smallest and cheapest EV this summer while many other automakers, like GM, are looking to claim a similar market.
Audi’s small Q4 e-tron electric SUV starts at $49,800, with an EPA estimated range of up to 265 miles.
With all of this, I ask again, where does the electric Lexus fit in? What do you think? Will an electric Lexus SUV sell for $60,000?
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