Geneva 2011: lexus hybrid drive

A Decade of Leadership in the Development of Full Hybrid Vehicles

  • Lexus maintains clear leadership in the premium hybrid market, with 300,000 vehicles already in operation worldwide
  • The only premium brand to offer a comprehensive, four model full hybrid range in Europe
  • Full hybrid sales in 2010 make up over 60% of all Lexus Western European 2010 sales — steadily moving towards a model range dominated by hybrid
  • Proven hybrid system quality, durability and reliability with bespoke manufacturing processes and skilled master craftsmen
  • Legendary customer service reinforced by 5 years dealer experience in full hybrid technology

Since introducing the world's first full hybrid petrol-electric powered car —the RX 400h all-wheel drive SUV— to the European premium automotive segment in 2005, Lexus has maintained a clear lead in the design, manufacture and global sale of hybrid vehicles in the premium market.

There are already some 300,000 Lexus full hybrid vehicles in operation worldwide. And Lexus remains the only premium manufacturer to offer a comprehensive hybrid model range. With four, six or eight cylinder engines at the heart of their Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrains and a choice of front-, rear- or all-wheel drive, the European Lexus full hybrid range encompasses the F, E, E-SUV and C segments with its LS, GS, RX and CT models respectively.

Each new Lexus Hybrid further reinforces the importance of hybrid drive systems as Lexus' core powertrain technology. Whilst Lexus Hybrid Drive was introduced to the LS, GS and RX model ranges only after they had first become available with conventional petrol powertrains, the new CT is the first Lexus model to be equipped with full hybrid drive from launch.

This important step reflects the growing significance of Lexus Hybrid Drive within the Lexus model range. In 2010, more than 60% of all Lexus cars sold in Western Europe are full hybrid models and the company is moving towards a model range dominated by hybrid.

From the outset, the Lexus philosophy has been to develop cars that establish new frontiers in quality, luxury and performance through a radical approach to advanced vehicle design and manufacture, whilst stressing absolute customer orientation at the very core of the brand.

In this context, Lexus' detailed response to customer feedback has been fundamental in the implementation of the company's second generation Lexus Hybrid Drive. Incorporating enhancements to every aspect of its full hybrid technology, the system has been specifically designed for low maintenance, longevity and outstanding durability (fully described in the Cost of Ownership section).

The proven quality of Lexus full hybrid vehicles is reinforced through a bespoke, clean, quiet and dust-free manufacturing process combining innovative production technology with the skills of Lexus master craftsmen.

There are still many areas of manufacture in which human skills far exceed those of even the most sophisticated automated systems. And Lexus' full hybrid production process integrates the company's legendary manufacturing quality with an entirely humanised focus on subliminal quality; those aspects of a car which cannot be mechanically measured or quantified, yet contribute at a fundamental level to perceptions of the very highest overall quality.

Every Lexus full hybrid has been created in accordance with an extremely rigorous set of development standards known as the Lexus MUSTs. These unique standards include more than 500 items that set strict guidelines for design, engineering and every stage of the manufacturing process.

The Lexus MUSTs also set NVH standards for the levels of quietness and durability expected of Lexus Hybrid Drive technology and the Lexus brand, and even apply to static factors such as the appearance, tactile and sound quality, and the performance and sensitivity of controls.

Quality, legendary customer service and the finest retailer network in the industry have always represented the bedrock of the Lexus brand. Lexus retailers already have over five years of full hybrid technology sales and after sales experience. This leaves them fully equipped to guide customers through the diverse benefits of Lexus Hybrid Drive, and to demonstrate the use of the system to not only maximise its performance and fuel efficiency, but also enjoy the uniquely quiet, smooth and sophisticated driving experience it provides.

Driving Pleasure with Environmental Responsibility and Low Ownership Costs

  • Lexus Hybrid Drive — a uniquely smooth, quiet and engaging driving experience
  • Renowned environmental credentials with low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions — segment-best for RX 450h and CT 200h
  • NOX and particulate emissions already well below Euro VI standards across entire full hybrid model range
  • Amongst the lowest ownership costs in the premium automotive segment through low emissions-linked taxation advantages, outstanding fuel efficiency, low service, maintenance and repair costs and strong residual values

Lexus Hybrid Drive rewards owners with a uniquely smooth, quiet and engaging driving experience. Via a seamless, electric continuously variable transmission, the Lexus full hybrid powertrain delivers smooth, linear acceleration, avoiding the expected 'jumps' between gears of a conventional drive-train.

Under every driving condition, whether running in near-silence under electric motor power alone, under petrol engine power, or a combination of both, Lexus Hybrid Drive offers a significantly higher level of drive-train refinement at any speed than that of a conventional powerplant.

Every Lexus full hybrid is designed to set new standards for quiet, vibration-free running in its segment. Building on the inherently low NVH characteristics of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system, every model benefits from a variety of measures designed to maximise aerodynamic efficiency whilst minimising wind and road noise, resulting in an outstandingly quiet cabin environment.

The new CT 200h, for instance, offers a premium compact segment-unique front and rear lateral performance damping system designed to absorb and minimise undesirable body vibration, offer a more linear steering feel and enhance ride comfort. Comprehensive noise and vibration reduction measures place the GS 450h and RX 450h amongst the quietest high-speed cruising cars in their respective E and E-SUV segments, and the Lexus flagship, the LS 600h, is one of the quietest cars in the world.

Drivers of hybrids particularly appreciate the fuel efficiency of their vehicles, and Lexus Hybrid Drive is renowned for its environmental credentials. Both the RX 450h and the CT 200h not only boast class-leading fuel efficiency, but also generate the lowest CO2 emissions in their segments.

Returning 6.1l/100km*, the RX 450h offers segment-best fuel consumption, whilst the CT 200h has a remarkable combined cycle figure of just 3.8l/100km; the fuel consumption of a small city car.

With figures of from 87 and 140g/km* respectively, the CT and RX Lexus full hybrids both generate easily the lowest CO2 emissions in their class. Significantly, in the context of forthcoming, more stringent Euro VI emissions legislation, all Lexus full hybrid vehicles generate substantially lower NOX and particulate emissions than rival vehicles, and, of course, in EV mode, no emissions whatsoever.

Lexus full hybrid owners can also benefit from amongst the lowest ownership costs in the premium automotive segment. Lexus Hybrid Drive vehicles can deliver cost savings to private owners, company car drivers and fleet operators thanks to the unique combination of low emissions-linked taxation advantages, outstanding fuel efficiency, high residual values and low service, maintenance and repair costs.

Every Lexus full hybrid is placed in a lower emissions-linked tax category than rivals equipped with a conventional powertrain of a similar power output. This not only benefits private owners, but also company car drivers through lower personal taxation, and fleet operators through write-down allowances.

For instance, with class-leading emissions of just 87g/km, the CT 200h offers the highest tax advantages in many European countries, and will deliver unprecedented benefits in total ownership costs compared to its principal rivals.

Recent analysis reveals that -through incentives in place to promote the use of more environmentally-friendly vehicles- the CT 200h can save UK drivers more than £3,000 over three years or 60,000 miles. And for businesses choosing it as a fleet vehicle, the savings can be well in excess of £7,000.

Benefiting from write-down allowances, a CT 200h fleet owner in the UK has a tax advantage over a close segment rival of around £3,900 over three years. Through lower, benefit-in-kind personal taxation, the company car driver saves around £1,400 over the same period.

To date, compared to main competitor models in a contract length of 36 months and 90,000km, the CT 200h offers tax benefits of between 1,000 and 2,000 Euros in five European countries (Portugal, Finland, Iceland, Belgium and Austria), 2,000 to 4,000 Euros in three countries (Sweden, France and Hungary), and benefits of over 4,000 Euros in further five countries (Norway, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain and Greece).

Lexus Hybrid Drive also enables owners to enjoy specific incentives in various markets, such as congestion charge exemption in London for the sub-100g/km CO2 emissions of the CT 200h, and up to 3,000 Euros in hybrid-specific benefits for all Lexus Hybrid Drive models in Spain.

Whilst every Lexus full hybrid minimises day-to-day running costs through optimum fuel efficiency, it also benefits from the lowest possible service maintenance and repair costs. Lexus Hybrid Drive has been specifically designed for low maintenance and outstanding durability.

A full hybrid powertrain does not require a conventional starter motor, alternator or clutch. Every petrol engine is equipped with maintenance-free timing chains and also has no drive belts, providing both excellent reliability and further cost savings.

With a proven reliability record established over 60 billion kilometres of driving worldwide, the hybrid battery is designed to last the entire lifetime of the vehicle. Rigorously assessed for performance and durability, it is covered by a five year / 100,000km warranty.

Because its Electronically Controlled Braking-Regeneration (ECB-R) system supplies the first 50% of all braking force (accounting for some 60% of everyday braking use), the Lexus Hybrid Drive braking system demonstrates remarkable component longevity. Over 100,000km** of driving, the front brake pads usually only need replacing once, whilst rear pads and all discs may require no replacement at all.

A Lexus full hybrid's stainless steel-construction exhaust system has a life expectancy in excess of five years, and LED headlamps have a dramatically longer lifespan than conventional HID or halogen bulbs.

Lexus Hybrid Drive is equally efficient in the minimisation of tyre wear. The system's smooth, linear power delivery reduces tyre wear under acceleration.

Moreover, many components have been developed specifically to reduce impact repair costs, and the body structures themselves have been designed to reduce repair costs when a minor collision occurs.

Depreciation has a significant impact on the whole life cost of a vehicle, making it a key consideration for both private owners and fleet operators. Lexus full hybrid residual values are consistently high, while those of the CT 200h are expected to be in line with vehicles at the top of the premium compact segment.

Based on trade values over 36 months / 90,000km, figures published in September 2010 by Eurotax in Germany, France, Italy and Spain, and the CAP Monitor in the UK, award the CT 200h a highly competitive average value of over 42%.

In terms of the used car market, intelligent volume planning, combined with a balanced supply and demand strategy, will keep Lexus full hybrid used car values high. The Lexus pan-European re-marketing programme and business-to-business platform help drive a seamless 'de-fleet' process to stimulate market demand for Lexus used cars. And the strong involvement of Lexus retailers in re-marketing helps exploit unique vehicle features, such as full hybrid technology, in the second life cycle.