At this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, Lexus has unveiled its “Lexus Electrified” vision for an upcoming generation of electrified vehicles with the debut of its LF-30 Electrified Concept. The concept, according to the automaker, embodies the ‘Lexus Electrified’ vision and features autonomous driving and drone support technologies that look ahead to the year 2030.
Taking advantage of a hoodless vehicle shape, Lexus’ signature “spindle” form has been further evolved to span the entire vehicle architecture. The window glass, which continually stretches from the front to rear, the muscular fenders, and the wing-shaped headlights form the contours of the Lexus iconic spindle. The shape of the body is fashioned with an elegantly flowing front which transitions into a linear and sharp rear. In addition to the wing-shaped headlights, the sharpness of the rear lights and side air intakes combine to achieve both excellent aerodynamics and cooling performance, resulting in styling fused with function.
The opacity of the side windows can be freely adjusted, providing occupants with expansive views of the surrounding scenery and a high level of privacy at night and in other situations. The color of the front face of the vehicle and luminescence patterns help identify from the outside whether the vehicle is being operated in its normal mode or in its autonomous driving mode, reflecting Lexus’ pursuit of both a high level of styling and functionality. The exterior color ‘voltaic sky’ employs a leading-edge metal-infused coating to achieve a unique quality tinted by a touch of blue-green.
To manifest in a higher dimension Lexus’ fundamental human-centered philosophy, the cockpit was designed based on the new Lexus concept of “Tazuna”. Inspired by how a single rein can be used to achieve mutual understanding between horse and rider, the steering controller-mounted switches and head-up display have been coordinated to a high degree, creating a space that enables the driver to focus on driving while controlling various functions, such as the navigation and audio system and driving-mode selection, without having to shift one’s vision or operate manual switches. As an indication of the future image of a Tazuna cockpit, the LF-30 Electrified employs next-generation interfaces, such as gesture control and enhanced presentation of vehicle information through AR (augmented reality). The resulting interior is one that provides comfort and convenience for both driver and passengers.
With the layout of the front passenger seat echoing that of a first-class seat on an airliner, the interior is one in which a sense of openness and a sense of envelopment coexist. All switches and other controls being comfortably within reach and a gesture-control large-screen display for the passenger seat add to the achievement of interior comfort and convenience.
The rear seats use artificial muscle technology to mold to their occupants and can support various modes such as reclining, relaxation, and alert functions. A Mark Levinson audio system creates a next-generation listening environment, in which minute speaker control establishes ideal acoustic spaces for music listening pleasure for the driver and each passenger, and speakers built into the headrests not only provide an optimal audio environment but also have a noise-canceling feature that contributes to enhanced quietness.
A glass roof above the rear seats features voice control and a gesture controlled “SkyGate” display window that uses AR to display various types of information, such as a realistic star-filled sky, user-favorite videos, and even navigation.
In addition to its unique design, the interior also indicates the direction of next-generation luxury by using sustainable materials to reduce environmental burden. Yakisugi (charred cedar), a traditional Japanese material, is used in the floor and steering controller while recycled metal was processed into fibers for use in creating the pleated door trim. This approach expresses Lexus’ distinctiveness and innovative spirit.
To achieve a fundamental leap in vehicle performance, handling, control, and driver enjoyment, the LF-30 employs numerous state-of-the-art technologies even beyond advanced posture control. In-wheel electric motors for each of the vehicle’s four wheels and low positioning of the battery enable better handling of inertia and high-level driving performance. Autonomous driving technologies and drone support vehicle technologies look ahead to the year 2030 and the widely expanded value that vehicles can offer.
Lexus Advanced Posture Control technology regulates the drive-power output from high-torque electric motors to adjust vehicle posture in tune with human sensibilities. Completely independent control of front and rear drive wheels allows appropriate provision of front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive, depending on the driving situation. Compact and lightweight drive-power units expand freedom in vehicle packaging and are used to enable the driver to enjoy ideal driving, regardless of the road surface or driving conditions.
Positioning Lexus Advanced Posture Control technology as a core element of the ‘Lexus Electrified’ vision, Lexus intends to widely apply this technology throughout its lineup of electrified vehicles.
The steer-by-wire system eliminates a mechanical connection to allow more flexible turning control depending on driving conditions, and a more precise steering feel aligned with the driver’s intention. It also contributes to a greater sense of openness by allowing the steering controller can be shifted forward and out of the way during autonomous driving.
Onboard AI distinguishes the voices of vehicle occupants and uses personalized information stored on the driver’s control key to serve as a partner. It facilitates the adjustment of elements of the interior environment, such as air temperature and audio, and the setting of navigation routes and destinations, while also making proposals for activities after arrival. It also understands driver’s preferences and helps them control the suspension and powertrain settings in real-time according to the driving scene.
The LF-30 Electrified also carries the ‘Lexus Airporter’ drone-technology support vehicle. Using autonomous control, the Lexus Airporter is capable of such tasks as independently transporting baggage from a household doorstep to the vehicle’s luggage area.
Based on the latest autonomous driving technology concept of ‘Lexus Teammate’, the LF-30 Electrified features advanced driving support functions in the form of a Chauffeur mode and a Guardian mode. Occupants can enjoy both comfort and peace of mind during autonomous driving with advanced posture control technology being employed. Furthermore, a self-parking function and a front-door pickup function in which the LF-30 Electrified autonomously moves from driveway to doorstep provide an especially high level of convenience.