All-electric Lexus UX300e – range, performance, charging time and specification

Lexus has long been a leader with luxurious and refined petrol-electric hybrid cars, but the new UX300e is its first all-electric model

Chris Rosamond
Jan 30, 2020

Say hello to the Lexus UX300e, the upmarket Japanese brand’s first foray into the world of all-electric vehicles. Given the firm’s experience – along with parent company Toyota – in making petrol-electric hybrid cars, it’s surprising that we haven't seen a battery-only model from Lexus before.

Part of this delay comes from Toyota believing that hybrid cars are the most economically viable stepping-stone to a super-efficient and environmentally sustainable hydrogen fuel-cell powered future. Toyota is on record as saying the case for battery powered electric cars is much less convincing from a long-term sustainability perspective. So how does this electric car, from a company that doesn't believe in electric cars, stack up?

We have to wait until 2021 for the UX300e to hit UK showrooms, and although prices have yet to be announced it seems reasonable to expect there’ll be a significant premium over the current £40k+ Lexus UX250h range-topper. However, with Toyota having such expertise in hybrid petrol-electric power, the company claims that its first plug-in model will be fully optimised to make the most of its electric motor.

It’s up to the UX300e to turn that aspiration into an electric car reality that delivers on the road, and judging by what we know so far it has every chance of doing just that. Keep reading for all the details.

Quick facts

  • Lexus’s first all-electric car
  • New version of the hybrid UX crossover
  • Claimed range of 250 miles*
  • *Calculated using old test format - expect slightly lower range in reality
  • Fast charging takes less than 60 minutes
  • Charging takes 7 hours using home wall charger
  • Features a 50kW, 200hp motor

Lexus UX300e models and trim

While the UX300e powertrain is new and exciting, we’ve yet to learn whether the model will be pitched as a model within the UX lineup featuring the same specification levels, or a standalone model with its own unique spec level. The hybrid UX250H has ‘standard’, F Sport and Takumi luxury options.

We do know the UX300e has its own aerodynamic 17-inch wheel design, and initially at least, we’d predict a single luxurious equipment level that includes some of the F Sport upgrades like Active Sound Control - for boosting or reducing the amount of engine noise - on top of the standard widescreen touchscreen media system.

We don’t expect the UX300e will be offered with the four-wheel drive option you can choose for the hybrid UX either, as the extra weight and complexity would be an unnecessary drain on the battery.

Lexus UX300e pricing and delivery dates

There’s little doubt the UX300e is going to be more expensive than any of the other models in the UX line-up, including the flagship UX250H Takumi with its surround-sound system and luxurious leather-wrapped cabin. How far north of the £40k+ Takumi model the UX300e will be pitched remains to be seen, but a figure close to £50k isn't out of the question.

We’ve been given no firm on sale dates yet either, with Lexus saying only that the UX300e will go on sale in China and Europe in 2020, and in Japan in 2021. We expect cars to arrive in the UK in the latter part of the year, and deliveries not to get properly underway until 2021.

Lexus UX300e range and recharging

The official range claim for the Lexus UX300e is 400 kilometres, which translates to 249 miles – not bad for a chunky SUV, although the figure is quoted under the old NEDC test regime, which is a lot less realistic than latest WLTP tests. Still, if owners can manage real world figures of around 180+ miles on a charge, it makes the ownership proposition realistic for many. Most drivers do less than 30 miles a day after all, which means charging would only be required every three or four days, if you don’t have access to a home wall charger.

The UX300e is equipped with a 54.3kWh lithium ion battery, which accepts a maximum standard AC charge of 6.6kW or a rapid DC charge at 50kW, so you can expect to be up to 80% capacity in well under an hour using the latter, while you’ll need seven hours to charge from a wall box at home. With its maximum charge rate of 50kW, you won’t be able to take advantage of Tesla-style superchargers with their 150kW output, however, so expect the UX300e to need around an hour for a full charge at the fastest.

Lexus UX300e rivals

The Volvo XC40 Recharge is pretty close in concept to the Lexus UX300e, offering contemporary and relatively compact SUV style with electric power. Volvo has been a bit less cautious with its spec though, as the XC40 comes with a considerably bigger 74kWh battery, and a more powerful motor promising more exciting acceleration.

If you’re not too worried about how upmarket your car feels, then both Kia and Hyundai offer less luxurious – and less expensive – electric SUVs called the e-Niro and Kona Electric, or you might consider the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense which is more affordable still. Apart from the Volvo none of the above offer anything like the luxury and refinement you can expect from the Lexus, however.

Lexus UX300e performance

While no official UX300e performance figures have been revealed, the electric motor output of 150kW equates to around 200hp. With plenty of instant power on tap you can expect brisk acceleration off the line but not sports car performance. The Volvo XC40 Recharge has more than double the power, and is reported to reach 0-62mph in a shade under five seconds – the Lexus won’t compete in a traffic light grand prix.

Where we expect the UX300e to excel is in the area of cabin refinement. Lexus has already announced there is extra sound-deadening to mask extraneous sounds that you wouldn’t be able to hear with an engine running in the hybrid version.

Lexus UX300e interior

Don’t expect much difference between the interior of the electric Lexus UX300e and its hybrid siblings. In fact, we’d be surprised to see anything much more than some bespoke graphics on the driver information screens providing detail on the electric motor and battery condition, and perhaps one or two minor dashboard changes for electric car-specific functions.

Otherwise you’ll get the regular UX experience which means superlative build quality and materials, plush and comfortable seats and lots of toys, plsu a sweeping driver-focused dashboard with many of the control features gathered on the centre console and a handsome central touchscreen.

Lexus UX300e exterior

There’s little about the UX300e that gives away its electric car credentials unless you’re a real car spotter. It looks almost identical to the existing hybrid version, apart from bespoke aerodynamic wheels, and there’s a charging point on the rear pillar instead of a fuel filler cap.

Lexus UX300e technology

The electric technology under the skin of the UX300e is its most interesting trait, but many of the elements are variants of the kit and electric control systems you’d find in a Lexus UX hybrid. The UX300e gets a front-mounted electric motor driving the front wheels, with the 54kW battery located under the floor. Other related tech includes driving modes optimised for boosting how far you can travel per charge and paddles behind the steering wheel to control the regenerative braking system - which recoups energy otherwise lost when slowing down.

The UX300e also gets a bespoke cooling system for its battery, and an Active Sound Control system configured to transmit sounds into the cabin that ‘communicate the driving conditions’.

In other respects the UX300e features tech that mirrors that on the hybrid versions, and as you’d expect from a Lexus, the spec is pretty lavish. Items included or on the options list include a 10-inch multimedia display, surround view parking cameras, a head-up display and a full range of active driving and safety aids.

Lexus UX300e review

With the UX300e still some way off, Lexus has yet to provide examples for road testing. When we do get our hands on it, we’d expect the brand’s trademark refinement and comfort to be very present, and it will be interesting to see how much the weight of battery pack affects the amount of body roll in cornering. Performance and battery range in the real world will be in the spotlight too.

 

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