It’s a car that comes with its own dronelike valet to carry your luggage or bring in the groceries. And it has a glass roof that can project an image of a star-fiiled sky at night, screen videos or provide navigation assistance.
| THE INDEPENDENT | Luxury car maker Lexus has used the 46th Tokyo Motor Show to unveil its vision of future motoring and it’s made quite an impact. The LF-30 electric car is only a concept at this stage, but it points to the near future for the company which is planning to expand is offering of alternatively-powered vehicles.
Lexus intends to “broaden its response to the needs of various regions around the world” through the development of electric vehicles using hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery and fuel-cell technologies.
By 2025, it will have electrified versions available for all models as it aims for sales of electrified models to outpace those of conventional petrol engine cars.
A key driving feature of the LF-30 is the four in-wheel motors which can provide for rapid acceleration and a top speed of 200 km/h. They allow for precise electric motor control providing instantaneous adjustments to how the vehicle performs and handles, something Lexus calls “posture control”.
The system is also designed to be adaptive, adjusting to the skills and preferences of an individual driver. The driver’s cockpit features a gesture control screen while the rear-seats mould to fit the body shape of the passengers.
The LF-30 also uses artificial intelligence to distinguish the voices of its passengers to provide personalised information stored onboard and adjusts elements of the interior environment, such as air temperature, audio settings, favourite navigation routes and can even make proposals for activities after arrival.
The Lexus LF-30 is designed to preview how the Japanese manufacturer would take a bespoke electric car platform and turn it into a production model. It is dramatic-looking flagship model, with an overall length over five metres. It’s not a direct concept linked to any production car, but rather a showcase to highlight the fact that Lexus’s first all-electric model – a conversion of an existing hybrid vehicle, most likely – is due in 2020.
The concept demonstrates further evolution of Lexus’s design language, incorporating the lengthy wheelbase and floor-mounted battery that are common on bespoke EV platforms.
It also reveals two targets of Lexus’s longterm electric car ambitions. The LF-30 has four in-wheel motors, and Takashi Watanabe, the chief engineer on Lexus’s electric vehicle programme, told journalists, “At this time, what we adopted in the concept car is one of the specific examples for electrification in the future that we want to use. We want to develop in-wheel motors for use in electrified vehicles.”
In addition, the car has no visible charging port – because Lexus is evaluating how wireless charging can make EV ownership more ‘premium’ and luxurious by doing away with cables and ports. “In the future we want to enhance the convenience of charging,” Watanabe said, “so we wanted a contactless charging system that didn’t use cables. We’ll hope to accelerate our development so that we can achieve this contactless charging system as soon as possible.”
And once the driving is over, the car deploys the Lexus Airporter drone support vehicle.
The Airporter allows its owners to escape those mundane chores, such as carrying the bags, bringing autonomous motoring right to the doorstep.