Living / 3 July, 2023 / Ellie Thompson
The all-new Lexus RZ450e Takumi claims to be a groundbreaking battery electric SUV, built on a dedicated BEV aka battery electric vehicle platform. The RZ is Lexus’s first model to be developed as a BEV from the outset. The intention is not simply to deliver the benefits of all-electric driving but to capture the potential of BEVs to reinvent the driving experience.
We took the Takumi on a family weekend away from Surrey to Suffolk to see if it lived up to the hype.
The Lexus RZ50e Takumi is, of course, a luxurious and super-stylish-looking SUV. The car’s reasonably sized boot is perfectly able to stash pushchairs or luggage, and there’s a compartment to safely store the electric cables.
The inside of the car has a spacious and airy feel, with heated, electric adjustable super-comfy seats. With so much space in the backseat, your kids can relax and enjoy their own space on a long journey, even from their car seats. The cockpit’s design is luxuriously solid, housing a 14-inch touch screen, responsive sat nav system, and all the additional wireless apps you’d expect to find. Top points so far.
The Lexus RZ offers a quiet driving experience that feels comfortable, controlled, and confident in various situations. Lexus used their expertise in electric vehicle technology to maximize the benefits of the RZ’s electric powertrain, such as quick acceleration and precise handling. Driving the RZ is enjoyable and intuitive, even for those like us that are unfamiliar with electric cars.
Its long-life 71.4kWh lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 64-kilowatt hours offers a real-world range of around 180 miles. Our journey from Bookham to Haverhill via the M25 on a Friday night in the height of summer provided some interesting insights into the Lexus RZ450e’s battery life. With the air-conditioning ramped up to combat 30-degree heat and the sat nav running to take us to our destination, we noticed a worrying drain on the battery.
With 112 miles to go, and in an effort to conserve power, we decided to turn off both the air conditioning and sat nav for most of the trip. We were total newbies when it came to driving a long distance in an all-electric car, and our biggest fear was getting stuck without any juice or waiting around for the car to charge. With two little munchkins in tow screaming, “are we there yet” before we’d even left our village, I’m sure you’ll agree that scenario is the stuff of nightmares.
The Lexus RZ450e Takumi uses the same charging port as almost every other electric car, so it’s compatible with almost every charging station you’ll come across. Once we got to our destination, we had to find somewhere local to our hotel to park and charge the car. Luckily, we found a Tesco superstore five minutes away from our hotel with a 22-kilowatt battery. We realised a few hours later the car had been plugged into a broken charging point, so we had to restart the process again in another spot, which, to be fair, did fuel the car pretty quickly… Although we couldn’t figure out how to check out the amount of charge we’d achieved in that time.
The RZ loves to beep to keep you in the know. It’ll keep you informed as to what’s going on at all times. It’ll even tell you to put both hands back on the steering wheel if you’re cruising along with one hand in your lap. That’s just one of the many incredible safety features, and if you’re not a fan of an overly verbal car, the good news is you can turn the alerts off.
The car is equipped with a world-class package of preventive features. The latest generation Lexus Safety System+ offers new functions that detect hazards, provide warnings, and assist with steering, braking, and acceleration, while over-the-air updates keep the safety systems current.
The RZ’s safety features include enhanced Pre-Collision System, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with advanced settings, improved Lane Departure Alert and Lane Tracing Assist, Lane Change Assist, Driver Monitor for monitoring driver condition, and Proactive Driving Assist for obstacle anticipation and assistance. Combined with the car’s robust construction, these safety measures ensure comprehensive protection for occupants.
Increasing environmental concerns, technological advancements, and government incentives are driving the electric car craze – excuse the pun. With zero emissions and improved battery technology, electric vehicles offer a smooth and responsive driving experience, while governments worldwide are supporting EV adoption through financial incentives and charging infrastructure development.
It’s clear, though, that challenges remain. Some say that multi-story car parks aren’t built to carry the weight of them, while others say they are creating more plastic particles from tyre wear in the environment… Another friend of a friend who lives off the grid had a visitor with an EV that totally wiped out their wind-generated stored battery supply on just one charge! And no one yet knows how all these batteries will be recycled, never mind the fact that the power is generated by gas and even coal when the sun doesn’t shine, and the wind doesn’t blow.
Is the electric car revolution reshaping transportation and really moving us towards a cleaner and greener future? The jury is still out.
To find out more about the RZ, click here.