There are two versions of the Lexus UX300e BEV - but only one you can buy
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Toyota New Zealand’s first Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) for the local market isn’t actually a Toyota. It’s the Lexus UX300e, a pure-electric version of the UX compact SUV already available in petrol-electric hybrid form.
But it's filling in for Toyota in one important respect. Of the two models just launched, one can be purchased in the usual way: the $79,900 UX300e Limited. The other is an entry-level model that's aimed squarely at government fleets and business users, and can only be secured through an operating lease. There's no retail price quoted and the car must be returned to Lexus at the end of the lease term.
According to Lexus NZ, the idea is that these vehicles will then be filtered onto the used market, increasing the availability of BEVs to secondhand buyers.
It's a bold business move and probably one that would suit a Toyota BEV more than the luxury Lexus brand. But Toyota's first pure-electric car, the bZ4x, is still some way away - the end of 2022. And it might be too avant garde for fleet buyers, perhaps? At any rate, TNZ is exploring this territory via Lexus.
The good news is that even the flagship UX300e available to retail buyers still ducks under the $80k cap for the Government Clean Car Discount. Post discount, it's just $71,275.
Both versions of the UX300e Limited carry a 54kWh battery pack that Lexus claims is good for 360km on the NEDC cycle. The European WLTP figure is 315km, although that’s not officially endorsed by the Kiwi distributor for its model.
With 150kW/300Nm the BEV is the fastest UX you can buy: 0-100km/h in 7.5 seconds. That retail price of $79,990 is $6k more expensive than the UX250h (hybrid) FWD, although not after the discount.
What the BEV can’t offer is an AWD option (there are two grades of UX250h with AWD), although it does have a bigger boot: 310 litres versus 268l for the hybrid.
The UX300e Limited comes fully loaded with Mark Levinson sound system and various synthetic leather upholstery options, including a unique combination called Zephyr Blue (blue/grey).
DC charging is via a CHAdeMO connector (favoured by Japanese BEVs, including the Nissan Leaf) rather than the more common CCS2 used by Korean and European models, but both systems are offered by public networks. Lexus NZ is also running a programme to assist purchasers with the home installation of a Wallbox AC charger if they choose.
Lexus is also offering the first 100 buyers the choice of a complementary portable charging cable for home use, or $200 of ChargeNet credit for public stations. It hopes to gain some insight into how customers (many of whom will be first-time BEV buyers) plan to use and charge the car.