Lexus is confident that the shift to electric powertrain technology will enable the automaker to build better 4x4s. While off-roaders may be skeptical about the fun and enjoyment factor of battery-powered vehicles, Lexus President Takashi Watanabe believes that the instantaneous torque of electric vehicles can replicate the driving experience of classic off-road models like the Land Cruiser. According to Watanabe, Lexus plans to take a different approach to enthusiast EVs, focusing on intentional and secure performance rather than just wicked acceleration.
Watanabe explains that with electric 4x4s, there is no delay in acceleration, but everything is intentional and responsive to the driver’s requests. The vehicle will provide more acceleration when desired and will not exceed the driver’s input when decelerating. This approach aims to create a comfortable and stress-free driving experience, emphasizing communication between the driver and the car.
Lexus’s goal is to offer a more composed and refined off-road experience compared to brands like Jeep and Ford, catering to the preferences of premium vehicle buyers. The automaker has already shown success in modifying a truck, the 2024 Lexus GX Overtrail, to fit batteries within its ladder frame.
Watanabe also highlights the lessons learned from the electric AE86 project, where Toyota replicated the sound and feel of an internal combustion engine using speakers to create vibrations and the sensation of idling. This attention to detail and replication of traditional driving experiences can be applied to future electric 4x4s, allowing Lexus to recreate the character and stability of iconic models like the Land Cruiser 70-Series.
While some off-road enthusiasts may still have reservations about the transition to electric powertrains, Lexus’s belief in providing an improved off-road experience while complying with regulations is a step towards a future where electric vehicles offer a blend of nostalgia and innovation.
Sources: The Drive