Lexus Says No To Plug-In Hybrids: “Our customers will get the car they need without the added complexity”

12 months ago by Mark Kane 74

Note Lexus' New Slogan For Its Hybrids

Note Lexus’ New Slogan For Its Hybrids

Oh Lexus, you always know just the wrong thing to say.

While the Toyota brand seems to be slowly turning to plug-in hyrbids these days (and all-electric offerings tomorrow), the Lexus brand – Toyota Groups’ “premium” lineup of automobiles, is stubbornly to remain plugless at least through 2020.

The Japanese company is happy with its progress to achieve 95g/km of CO2 emissions in Europe using only conventional hybrids, and is not going to add plug-ins at this current stage if they are not needed for compliance.  Afterall, even if the brand fails themselves, they can still quickly offset any shortcomings they need for awhile from the Toyota mothership and via the new Prius Prime/Plug-In Hybrid.

Lexus cardboard electric car

Lexus cardboard electric car

There is however an intention to add plug-ins…that is, after the emission standards are tightened to the degree the brand will have to offer them.

Lexus Europe boss Alain Uyttenhoven said:

“Other companies need a few batteries and plugs to hit that target, but even with the growth of our SUV sales we are on course to be below 95g/km,”

“It doesn’t mean we’ll ignore the technology and in time I’m sure we will need it to hit tougher targets – but we’re ready for that if and when we need it. For now, we don’t; our customers will get the car they need without the added complexity.”

Lexus and plug-in vehicles? Yupe, a long history there.

Lexus and plug-in vehicles? Yupe, a long history of “non-love”, borderline hate there.

Lexus expects growth of its hybrid car sales (about 25% worldwide and 98% in Europe), but the main question is whether or not it will not be too late to establish a successful plug-in product after 2020?  Or if the brand will manage to talk itself out of the hearts and minds of all its potential future EV costumers?

source: Autocar

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74 responses to "Lexus Says No To Plug-In Hybrids: “Our customers will get the car they need without the added complexity”"

  1. Big Solar says:

    Bahahaha, thats because your customers will be buying tesla.

    1. jimijonjack says:

      Or Maybe Toyota/Lexus is Buying all the Carbon Credits they need From Tesla…Tesla Does sell their Carbon credits because Tesla doesn’t need them.

    2. MrEnergyCzar says:

      The Lexus LS must be selling well against the Model S.

    3. deijmaster says:

      hahaha they’re totally disconnected from reality!

  2. John says:

    The future is in ICE… everyone knows that… um, yeah….

    1. ICE…Intentionally Complicated Excuses!

      1. No kidding, that was my thought too.

        Complexity? Of adding a bigger battery and charge system and port?

        I guess Lexus drivers don’t care about going from 35mpg to 70-100 mpg.

  3. SparkEV says:

    Apparently, Lexus doesn’t want its drivers to have the freedom to drive solo in HOV lane, and suffer herky-jerky ICE engine and transmission.

    I drove my friend’s LS460, and it felt so ridiculous jerky due to transmission shifting, especially in local roads. How can they call that a “luxury” car? Even my Prius was smoother.

  4. Jake Brake says:

    Or it could be because they wouldnt have huge profit margins like they do today selling old tech at a premium price. This attitude of doing the minimum to get by on regulations doesnt sit well with me.

  5. Ocean Railroader says:

    They really think that someone would spend four hours standing next to the car.

    I’ve dealt with people who have complained to me that I would have to spend four hours next to the car charging.

    1. SparkEV says:

      I’ve had people who thought I’d have to stand next to the car for hours holding the charger handle like you do with gas pump on every trip, even just few miles down to the grocery store. Most are not aware of DCFC, a fact that isn’t publicized widely. Misinformation is rampant, but I don’t see it changing much.

      1. Nemo says:

        It never occurred to me to leave a gas pump unattended, but just the other day, I found out that my sister does this — starts the gas flowing, then goes into the store. I was kind of horrified, but on the bright side, I think this means she’s ready for the world of EV charging. 😉

        1. Dave says:

          Leaving a gas pump unattended is against the law in many (most?) states?

          1. Samwise says:

            Yet they probably all still have handles that lock open… go figure…

  6. R.S says:

    Kind of strange to see Lexus making the same arguments against plug-in hybrids, that German car manufacturers used for arguing against hybrids.

    “Diesel is just as good, just without the added complexity”

    1. Ocean Railroader says:

      We have a Lexus dealership in town and a lot of their prices are more then a Tesla by at least $10,000 to $5000.

      1. Vexar says:

        Superior costs, inferior product. That’s why Lexus took a 20% sales hit the first year of production of the Tesla Model S.

        I can see Lexus as a brand that will potentially fail in the next ten years.

        1. floydboy says:

          Teslas need charging, Lexuses are always magically charged and ready! I think they run on ‘everlasting gobstoppers’!

        2. Klaus says:

          Lexus build quality absolutely trumps Tesla. At least imo, having vehicles from both in the family. Fit, finish, and materials are just not there yet with Tesla.

        3. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

          Vexar said:
          “That’s why Lexus took a 20% sales hit the first year of production of the Tesla Model S. I can see Lexus as a brand that will potentially fail in the next ten years.”

          That’s bull. Stop making stuff up.

          The Model S entered production in 2012.
          – In 2011, U.S. Lexus sales were 198,552.
          – In 2012, U.S. Lexus sales increased 23.0% to 244,166.
          – In 2013, U.S. Lexus sales increased 12.2% to 273,847.
          – In 2014, U.S. Lexus sales increased 13.7% to 311,389.
          – In 2015, U.S. Lexus sales increased 10.7% to 344,601.

          Since the Model S was introduced, U.S. Lexus sales have increased a whopping 73.6%, rising from 198,552 per year in 2011 to 344,601 per year in 2015. During that same time period, Tesla sold only 62,191 Model S cars in total. If you really believe Lexus will fail, then you should short Toyota stock and get filthy rich! 😀

          http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2012/10/lexus-brand-sales-figures-usa-canada.html

  7. Mike says:

    This seems like a bit of a gamble. If luxury EVs become the new norm, then Lexus is going to be in a world of hurt. If not, these guys are going t look like geniuses!

    My guess is that by 2018 the direction of this segment of the industry will be pretty obvious.

    1. arne-nl says:

      It’s now 2016 and the direction is already obvious. Why wait until 2018?

  8. Kim Conrad Jorgensen says:

    They started by firing all their designers (it looks like) and now they are firing their engineers it would seem. Lexus RIP, you won’t be missed.

  9. DonC says:

    Given we’re talking about luxury, seems as if Lexus is missing the point that the luxury of avoiding the horrible consumer experience known as the “gas station” — a real luxury — outweighs the “complexity” of parking in your garage and charging wirelessly or, heaven forbid, plugging in. LOL

    So lame. At least he could have said it was a cost issue.

  10. Lou Grinzo says:

    The transition from driving on fossil fuels to driving on electrons is a fascinating example of a “disruptive technology change”. Watching various companies or divisions within companies deal with it provides no end of entertainment.

    The thing I find so stunning about the reluctant entities, like Lexus, is how blatantly obvious it is that they’re on the wrong side of the issue. The price of batteries continues to decline and public charging infrastructure continues to expand, so it’s only a matter of time before EVs are simply more desirable than anything that burns gasoline or diesel fuel. And once we hit that knee in the curve, any company not ready with competitive EVs in the showroom will be in a world of hurt.

    I don’t expect this to kill off Lexus, for example. I suspect that Toyota is doing a lot more EV development behind the scenes than they’re talking about, and will be able to introduce Lexus and Toyota and maybe even Scion EVs without too much of a delay. But they’ll still push a lot of customers to Tesla, Nissan, GM, etc. in the process. Good luck getting them back.

    1. Lawrence says:

      Scion is dead. Gone.

  11. William says:

    Last Toyota I bought was 2003, looks like it will stay that way.

    1. mark says:

      That’s a real testament to the long term reliability of Toyota products if you bought it then and still have it.

      Of course I expect you all to comprehend my sarcasm. I still see the reasoning in Lexus’s argument. PHEVs and BEVs will remain a niche market for the next 5-10 years.

  12. Lawrence says:

    We have a Lexus from 2006. We were fairly sure that it was going to be our last and. Now it’s certain. That includes Toyota as well. They make a bunch of road appliances now, sold on their past reputation of reliability, which IMHO is undeserved today.

  13. Sparkinator says:

    I’m sticking with my horses and some really cute buggies and wagons. You crazy people with those motors in your wagons – What a fluke. That’s not real driving. This will all blow over – you’ll see.

    1. Kevin Z says:

      Yes, and just think of the added complexity!

  14. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

    A different reading: Lexus is planning to release a long-range BEV.

    :p

  15. Taser54 says:

    Many of you are missing the possibility that Lexus will simply jump to the simplicity of EVs. Of course, the Lexus timetable may not suit you.

    1. floydboy says:

      Hopefully the chasm hasn’t opened too far when they do decide to jump!

  16. Terawatt says:

    OK, so Lexus remains in the ICE age. Maybe that’s a bad business decision; I wouldn’t know. But it sure shows how ridiculously unambitious the emissions targets are.

  17. AndrewBian says:

    Before jumping to conclusions, if you intelligently dissect what they are saying: they will not make something that needs to be plugged in. They will rely on self generating power methods, i.e. meaning other sources to power their batteries besides the coal powered plug at home. (i know you’ll hit back with solar, clean energy,but the truth is most plugs still source back to the coal powered plant) In fact its a step beyond plug ins. Just like they had hybrids before everyone jumped in, they are again a step ahead.

    1. floydboy says:

      Nope! I’m thinking most energy is NOT sourced from coal!

    2. Get Real says:

      And your wrong AndrewBian, Union of concerned scientists have already thoroughly debunked this kind of pro fossil-fool FUD:

      http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles/life-cycle-ev-emissions#.WD8AslKQwW4

    3. arne-nl says:

      As soon as you plug in your EV, it channels all available coal power to your wall socket. That’s what smart grids are for. Sounds reasonable.

    4. Bacardi says:

      Ok, let’s “intelligently dissect” your claim of “most plugs still source back to the coal powered plant”…So TODAY, what is the % of coal fired? In the next decade, how many coal fired plants are expected to come online? How many are expected to convert to the somewhat less dirtier natural gas? How many homes will gain solar panels? How many major solar/wind project are expected to come online?

    5. Mikael says:

      Nothing intelligent about your post. Even China are down to ~65% coal in electricity generation.

      And even if CO2 for EVs was at the same high levels as Lexus cars (which they are not) you would still have to factor in all the local benefits.

      EVs beats hybrids in every way everywhere.

  18. Goaterguy says:

    Lexus is like the slightly demented grandpa from your father’s side…

  19. MDEV says:

    Hydrogen fuel Lexus

    1. floydboy says:

      Toyota’s eventually going to jump ship on hydrogen. I wonder if they’re going to buy back purchased Mirais, or if they’re going to leave those people to their fate of limited fueling infrastructure?

    2. Bacardi says:

      “DUE TO INOPERABLE REFILLING STATIONS, RESERVED FOR THOSE WHO HAVE FOUR WEEKS TO KILL”

  20. DJ says:

    So to many people here PHEVs are bad, an unnecessary stop towards a total BEV future. Now to those same people a company not willing to make a PHEV is bad. You guys sure are rich…

    I don’t see why they couldn’t throw the Prius Prime drive train in that hybrid coupe or something they have already but whatever.

    With Toyota saying they wouldn’t likely have a BEV until 2020 is it really a complete surprise that Lexus has a similar timetable???

    1. floydboy says:

      What “many people here” might that be?

      1. DJ says:

        Are you new here? Go back and read some of the comments on the articles about PHEVs.

        Some people think they’re a waste. Me personally I think they will do more to help the planet than a full BEV in the near tem. With batteries being a limiting factor to how many EVs can be produced and with most people travelling 50 miles or less a day on average I think it makes a lot more sense to have 5 volts on the road than say 1 Tesla… 250 miles on electricity vs 50 is kind of a no brainer. Sure it adds complexity to the car but lugging around a huge battery does the same and reduces efficiency as well.

        1. Jason says:

          I don’t think I agree with this comment. The Nissan Leaf 1.0 has 24kwh battery and can travel 84mi. The Tesla can have a 100kwh battery and can travel 315mi. So a car that is significantly heavier can go 3.75x the distance with 4x the battery size, that’s actually pretty impressive.
          Bolt has not quite 2.5x battery can go 2.4x as far, so range is almost directly related to battery size rather than weight, aero dynamics, etc.

    2. floydboy says:

      I’m kinda thinking, that if one considers a PHEV a sub-optimal solution, then making a car that’s even less of a solution, is something along the SAME line of reasoning! In other words, the two ARE NOT mutually exclusive!

    3. Mikael says:

      Fossil cars bad. Short range PHEVs better. Long range PHEVs great. BEVs best. It’s quite simple.

      And many of us in here are very supportive of PHEVs and know that they will play an important role in the transition to zero emissions.

  21. AlphaEdge says:

    No surprise. Their customers are rich people. The people that can make the biggest difference in advancing Hybrid/EV technology due to their wealth, and are the same people who say they care about the environment, but in the end prove how much they care by buying Lexus cars.

  22. Kimmo57 says:

    So essentially they’re saying they want to keep polluting the maximum they are allowed as long as possible.

  23. Peter Pet says:

    Hmmmm, just wondering which power train is more complex. EV or ICE?
    At the end of the day Which technology is better for simplicity?

    1. DJ says:

      Your feet or if you’ve got a ways to go a bicycle obviously… Don’t look at me, I’m not the one that brought up “complexity”…

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Peter Pet

      “Hmmmm, just wondering which power train is more complex. EV or ICE?”

      The one that does not have an engine composed of two-to-three hundred moving parts.

      The one that doesn’t need a bunch of kludges bolted on to keep it from exploding, melting, or ruining the neighborhood with noise pollution or air pollution; Rube Goldberg kluges like a water jacket, fuel pump, oil pump, fan belts & pulleys, muffler, catalytic converter… etc. etc.

    3. Brian F says:

      For complexity clearly the pure EV is simpler with the electric motor having only a few moving parts vs. hundreds for an ICE.

      I think the point Lexus was trying to make with their “complexity” argument is comparing an ICE to a plug-in hybrid, which has not only the regular ICE but *also* the electric motor, and the needed linkage between the two systems.

      I don’t think anyone would disagree that having both systems in the same car is more complex than having *only* an ICE or only EV.

  24. Bacardi says:

    Attack ads are for the weak…I’m sure Toyota will eventually put a stop to them…

    Rav4 hybrid will most likely get a plug and it’s sibling, the NX is likely to follow…

  25. Mikael says:

    Adding complexity…. Sure, there is added complexity compared to a pure ICE. You will need batteries, an electric drive-train and this will have to work together. And also a small simple thing, add a plug.

    If only some company could master the idea of having batteries and an electric drive-train in a car even though it’s complex…
    Imagine a company that has done this for 19 years, adding such complexity to a car. Maybe Lexus could learn a thing or two from the company that made the Prius and lately the Prius Prime, whichever company that could be.

  26. GrokGrok says:

    It’s a very odd position to take, given that there’s no more mechanical complexity to a PHEV than a hybrid — arguably less, since the complicated ICE side will run much less often, depending on the size of the enhanced battery. You do, however, need a place to put the upsized battery, and my Fusion Energi is here to show you there may not be a great place with current designs you retrofit. Lexus undoubtedly will wait until Toyota does designs with sensible places to put the battery, then port that over in a better trim. Hopefully, by then Lexus will have ditched the hideous grill designs.

    1. Jason says:

      A Hybrid must be more complex than an ICE or an EV because it has both those components, and they need to be integrated.

      ICE is mechanically complex because of all the moving parts, EV is electrically complex to get all the signals meshed.

      Fundamentally the whole article is a joke, and I’m sure that Lexus will come to realise they cannot BS the public with these statements. At the moment EV’s are rare, expensive and still early adoption, but all that will change and probably quite dramatically as new models arrive and more population realised the benefits.

  27. Jeff Songster says:

    Wake me up when something important happens from the moribund Toyota… ( rolling over… hitting the snooze bar ) It all seemed like a dream… a RAV4ev codeveloped with a progressive company… and then abandoned in favor of the H2 unicorns… sad nightmare now…

    1. pjwood1 says:

      95 grams CO2 per kilometer means about 60mpgs.

      Unless this is another “playtime” Euro rule, there does not seem to be a way forward for Lexus.

      Whatever. Hybrid rules. “Innovators dilemma”. Why knock yourself off as king of a quarterly billion dollar hill. We’d have to be blind, or asleep, not to know this is how they’re looking at it. A big rush, as 95gr/km comes true. Truly a moment of reckoning.

  28. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “…our customers will get the car they need without the added complexity.”

    Sounds like a good epitaph to carve on the tombstone of an auto maker which refused to join the EV revolution.

  29. WadeTyhon says:

    Without the added complexity? Complexity for Lexus or for the consumer? I’m positive a customer can understand how to plug in a car at night.

    But judging from the statement by the company, their goal isn’t providing luxury car buyers what they want. Lexus sees Hybrids and Plug Ins as about hitting emissions standards and nothing else. They’re well positioned to do that so they see no reason to keep innovating.

  30. midimal says:

    “Our customers will get the car they need without the added complexity” Lemme translate it: Stupid customers will get stupid cars °=°

  31. Surya says:

    “No charging means more driving”… TO THE FREAKING GAS STATION!

    My EV is fully charged each morning, no detours to gas stations ever 🙂

    1. Jason says:

      This is the bit people who don’t drive an EV don’t get. All the focus is on Tesla Superchargers and DCFC, but the reality is you drive 80℅ around your local area and only ever charge at home.

      If they put the same energy into building a product as they do trying to put down EV’s, all their luxury clients would have wireless charging when they park their car at night and be saying “thank you Lexus, I never need to fill up again”.

  32. Koenigsegg says:

    Lexsux

  33. CLIVE says:

    “Afterall, even if the brand fails themselves…”

    They get out, what they put it.

    Absolutely nothing!

    Next /

  34. EV AZ says:

    Toyota made the same statement when they released the RAV4 hybrid.

    It was on their commercial that you do not have to worry about plugging in and that the hybrid is always ready to go.

    That was a disappointment.

  35. EVger says:

    The Lexus timetable has not suited me. I have owned a series of Lexuses and loved them. I have repeatedly written directly to Lexus and talked with dealerships about producing a Lexus BEV (or at least a PHEV). A few years ago, both of my cars were Lexus RXs. I have moved steadily toward my goal of owning two BEVs as quickly as the market has allowed. In 2010, I bought a Lexus RX450h (non-plugin hybrid). In 2013, I traded an older RX on a Ford C-Max Energi (plug-in hybrid) and in 2016 traded that for a 2015 Nissan Leaf BEV. In a few months, I will trade the 2010 RX 450h on a Tesla Model X. I will have gone from an all Lexus garage to a no-Lexus garage. I have loved the cars. I have been disappointed by Lexus’ attitude and advertising re electrification.

  36. Imelda Marcos says:

    Cadillac Cimmaron was great concept, poor platform.

    Lexus without plug implies luxury, but in wrong form.

    Luxury is freedom from gas and noise.

    Even Chevy Spark offers that.