Lexus Charges Ahead on Electrified Path with First-Ever Plug-In Hybrid

Lexus Charges Ahead on Electrified Path with First-Ever Plug-In Hybrid

A new hybrid electric option for Lexus guests seeking conscientious luxury is en route: the all-new 2022 NX 450h+ — the brand’s first-ever plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV).

The compact luxury crossover plug-in — a machinery of hi-tech wizardry and elegant styling — embodies the brand’s aspiration toward electrification.

The NX plug-in hybrid electric vehicle marks the start of a crucial turning point for Lexus: To unveil 20 new vehicles by 2025, half of which will be battery electric, plug-ins and hybrids. The unprecedented NX 450h+ indicates a serious undertaking by Lexus, and represents the first glimpse into the luxury brand’s electric vision.

This new chapter also brings Lexus closer to its 2050 carbon neutrality target, an aim to cut carbon dioxide emission in the atmosphere. There are now two electrified powertrain options offered on the 2022 NX.

“For a long time, it’s been either gas or hybrid,” says Todd Blickenstaff, product marketing senior analyst at Lexus. “Now there’s a third option.”

Electrified Powertrains

As Lexus sojourns toward a more electrified path, the brand’s NX 350h hybrid carries a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine pumping 240 horsepower. The new 450h+ — the product addition most substantial to Lexus’s electrified future — is a standout with its 304-horsepower plug-in hybrid electric powertrain.

The system achieves the electric vehicle output equivalent to a 2.0-liter turbo engine. The 450h+ also has the fastest 0-to-60 acceleration of all the NX models and a manufacturer’s EPA-estimated 37-mile all-electric range. When the newly developed, high-capacity lithium-ion battery combines with the gas engine, the NX 450h+ achieves an impressive 84 MPGe as estimated by the EPA.

“The vision is to give Lexus guests a choice in powertrain,” Blickenstaff says. “Different people have different needs. Now, we offer different powertrains to match.”

How it Works

PHEVs operate on batteries that power an electric motor and, separately, an internal combustion engine that runs on fuel. It’s a dual-option alternative under one hood, meaning the NX 450h+ can operate on gasoline or battery power, and doesn’t have to be charged to run.

“It still has a gas tank, and you can drive very far, just like you can in a traditional car. A lot of people think that the main purchase reason for getting an electrified vehicle is the fuel economy,” Blickenstaff says. “I think for the new NX 450h+, it might actually be performance.”

Blickenstaff adds that “it’s definitely a challenge” when educating the public about the full capabilities of hybrid and plug-in hybrid products.

The NX 450h+ doesn’t have to be charged to drive. But if the guest chooses to plug in the vehicle, it can be driven on electricity alone without using gas. The 450h+ can reach a full charge in approximately two and a half hours when equipped with the optional 6.6 kW Expedited Onboard Charger and plugged into a 220-volt outlet.

The Electrified Future

In general, Lexus attracts a conscientious guest, which motivates their powertrain choice. That awareness has paid off for the brand, which has seen sales of its hybrid electric vehicles steadily increase as more guests see the advantage of electrified vehicles. The RX 400h — Lexus’ first luxury electrified model — has sold more than 2 million vehicles since its 2006 debut.

Lexus has maintained its Lexus Driving Signature performance by assembling electrified vehicles with impressive 0-to-60 acceleration and high efficiency. And the brand has priced its hybrid models closer to its gas counterparts.

The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price for each all-new NX are:

  • $37,950 for NX 250 FWD
  • $39,550 for NX 250 AWD
  • $41,550 for NX 350 AWD
  • $41,050 for NX 350h AWD
  • $55,560 for NX 450h+ AWD
  • All prices listed are exclusive of $1,075 delivery, processing and handling fee.

In March, Lexus revealed the LF-Z electrified concept to much fanfare. The battery electric vehicle (BEV), which unlike the NX 450h+, does not have a combustion motor, hinted at what is to come for the brand as it embarks on its electrified future.

“The NX 450h+ is the brand’s first-ever plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, and it will not be the last. We’ve shown the LF-Z electrified concept, which is an all-electric SUV. So, no gas tank,” Blickenstaff says. “What this says to me is that Lexus has multiple powertrain options for different buyer preferences. And I think adding more electrified vehicles to the Lexus lineup supports our philosophy of being more like a technology brand.”

Originally published October 21, 2021

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