Lexus is moving beyond far-out concepts and releasing its first production electric car, but you may want to temper your expectations. The automaker has unveiled the UX 300e, an electrified version of its UX crossover that hides some serious powerplant changes underneath an otherwise familiar exterior. It replaces the gas engine with a 201HP front motor and a 54.3kWh battery. That last figure might not sound like much, but Lexus claimed that it would net up to 250 miles of range based on the NEDC testing cycle. We’d expect less with the newer WLTP cycle, but it’s still likely to be a healthy amount given the battery capacity.
There aren’t many telltale clues that this is an EV. You’ll find aerodynamic wheels and a smooth underbody cover, but those are the most conspicuous visual changes. You may be more likely to recognize it when its artificial sound comes whizzing past. You can also expect better bracing and tuned shock absorbers.
The main problem is simply availability. Lexus intends to ship the UX 300e to China in 2020, followed by the UK and mainland Europe in 2021. The automaker hasn’t mentioned a US release so far. It’s likely just a matter of time before a Lexus EV reaches American shores, but we wouldn’t count on the UX 300e being that model.