Lexus has announced its first-ever all-electric vehicle, the UX300e small SUV, is coming to Australia, landing in showrooms from November 2021.
First launched in overseas markets earlier this year, the UX300e remained unconfirmed for the Australian market until November 9, when Lexus Australia CEO Scott Thompson announced it will land in line with the 2021 Melbourne Cup, of which Lexus is a major sponsor.
While pricing is yet to be revealed, Mr Thompson confirmed the UX300e will serve as the "flagship" (read: most expensive) model in the UX line-up when it joins the existing petrol-powered UX200 and hybrid UX250h offerings.
As it stands, the most expensive variant in the UX line-up is the all-wheel drive, hybrid UX250h F Sport, which is priced from $64,000 before on-road costs.
The incoming electric offering is capable of up to 150kW of power and 300Nm of torque, courtesy of its front-mounted electric motor, while a 54.3kWh lithium-ion battery located directly under the cabin floor is good for 400km of range (according to the more lenient NEDC cycle).
Lexus claims the UX300e can be fully charged from empty in as little as 50 minutes using 50kW DC fast charging, or about seven hours using a regular AC wall plug at home, with a maximum charging capacity on the latter of 6.6kW.
While the electric UX shares much of its DNA with its petrol and hybrid predecessors, it boasts an even larger boot, a quiet cabin and improved aerodynamics courtesy of the special wheels and an underbody cover
It's not yet known what the Australian specification of the UX300e will add on top of the existing UX200 and UX250h package, but Mr Thompson said: "Every country is slightly different in terms of what it's offering but if will be a more premium offering."
Asked whether Lexus would be examining the full spectrum of the electric ownership experience – including, specifically, the development of charging infrastructure – Mr Thompson simply said: "Stay tuned - we will provide some more detail."
The arrival of the first battery-electric (BEV) Lexus is a continuation of the brand's commitment to its increasingly popular "self-charging" hybrid models, with the first hybrid Lexus launching in 2006.
Since then, the Japanese marque has managed to tally 29,500 hybrid sales in the Australian market – and Mr Thompson believes the arrival of an all-electric offering won't detract from those growing hybrid sales.
"I think it will be a new buyer [entirely]," Mr Thompson told CarAdvice. "Hybrid is a mainstay for us and will continue to be a focus for us in terms of its affordability and driveability but there is a specific customer out there who is after this type of vehicle and we believe a cross-section of all four options is where we need to be."
By 2025, Lexus plans to have an electrified offering for every single car in its line-up, with its first plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model and dedicated BEV platform expected even earlier, with Mr Thompson saying the PHEV will be "strongly considered" for the Australian market.
Exact pricing and specification for the Australian UX300e is yet to be announced.