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Lexus announces Direct4 EV AWD system

Lexus’ new Direct4 system to provide AWD and torque vectoring for future EVs

9 Dec 2020

LEXUS is inching ever-nearer to joining the electric vehicle (EV) market, this week revealing details of its new Direct4 electric drive control system destined for the brand’s next-generation EVs and hybrids.


Essentially an advanced all-wheel-drive and torque vectoring system, Lexus says Direct4 will allow drivers to “change the vehicle movements by independently controlling motor torque of the four wheels at will”.


With a direct link between the wheels and the axle-mounted electric motors, there is also said to be no delay between driver input and vehicle response.


“The system uses a front and rear e-axle, each featuring a high-torque electric motor and transaxle, focusing on optimum drive force distribution,” Lexus said in a statement.


“As the motor is directly connected to the wheels by a single driveshaft, it operates without delay.


“Direct4 is a core technology supporting Lexus Electrified vision, which targets a fundamental leap in vehicle performance, handling, control and driver enjoyment.”


While undoubtedly good for dynamics, Lexus also says the new system is engineered for quietness and comfort – the core values of the brand.


As part of the Direct4 announcement, Lexus also revealed a darkened teaser image of a new electric concept vehicle due to be revealed in the first quarter of next year.


Already confirmed to be debuting a new design language for the brand, it is also more than likely the new model will be the first Lexus production car to come fitted with Direct4 given the upcoming UX300e will at this stage be front-wheel-drive only.


According to Lexus design general manager Koichi Suga, the lack of need for front cooling in an EV presents “exciting new opportunities” in regard to both technology and design.


“Design is not only about styling, it is also based on engineering and expressing it as a shape,” he said.


“But with electrification I wanted to take a step closer to the essence.”


Carefully examining the darkened teaser shot, we can just make out the lines of Lexus’ signature front fascia however the grille, while still gaping, looks to be taking on a more trapezoid shape and given engine cooling is not required with an EV, it would be more than reasonable to expect the spindle texture found on all current Lexus models to be retired.


Other design cues include the familiar L-shaped head- and daytime running lights and a centrally mounted illuminated badge.


No timeline has been given yet for the new model given it is still at the concept stage however the UX300e is currently slated to arrive Down Under in November next year.


Lexus has sold 7689 new vehicles so far this year ending November, 1202 less than it managed over the same period last year.

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