Pascal Ruch, head of Lexus Europe, has acknowledged that, ultimately, battery electric vehicles will take the lead, but that while “challenges of infrastructure and electricity supply” remain, the brand would continue to develop a range of electrified technology for hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric and battery electric vehicles “to meet diverse customer needs and driving environments around the world”.
He said: “All future development will be based on the principle of leveraging electrification to reinvent the driving experience. We want our vehicles to be truly enjoyable to drive.”
Lexus has investigated how a BEV might be equipped with a manual transmission, a project that has progressed to focused development using a research prototype based on the UX300e compact SUV, equipped with a gear lever and a clutch pedal.
Takashi Watanabe, electrified chief engineer, said: “From the outside, this vehicle is as quiet as any other BEV. But the driver is able to experience all the sensations of a manual transmission vehicle. It is a software-based system, so it can be programmed to reproduce the driving experience of different vehicle types, letting the driver choose their preferred mapping.”