Batteries for electric cars make people nervous. What if one fails and you get stuck with a ginormous replacement bill? Never mind that there has been hardly any news about battery failures since Nissan had a problem with the batteries for its LEAF back in 2012, especially in hot, dry climates. Or that Tesla is hard at work on a million mile battery. The thought of shelling out big bucks still holds a lot of people back when it comes to considering an electric vehicle at trade-in time.
Lexus has been late to the EV party, but it is about to introduce the UX300e, a battery electric version of its compact SUV, in Europe. The car will have an air cooled 54.3 kWh battery comprised of 288 individual cells. Within the battery pack, each cell will be warmed by its own individual heater when temperatures dip. Cooling will be enhanced by the car’s air conditioning system.
Range is estimated at 248 miles NEDC, according to Green Car Reports. EPA ratings are typically a third less than that figure but that is irrelevant since Lexus has no plans to sell the UX300e in the US. What is important, though, is that the battery in the Lexus UX300e will be warranted by the company for 10 years or 1 million kilometers (600,000 miles), so any concerns about battery life should be eliminated for most buyers. Better yet, the warranty protects against battery degradation below 70% during the warranty period, “provided that the owner respects the regular health checks foreseen in the maintenance program,” Lexus says.
The UX300e, which can also be had with Toyota’s hybrid Synergy Drive, features a 150 kilowatt (204 horsepower) electric motor driving the front wheels. Lexus estimates 0-100 kph (0-62 mph) will happen in 7.5 seconds with a top speed of 99 mph. The numbers put the UX300e solidly in the middle of the pack, performance-wise. Lexus apparently feels European drivers don’t need acceleration that pushes your eyeballs out of the back of your skull.
The Lexus experience puts a premium on a car that drives serenely along with little intrusion from the environment outside. From that perspective, the UX300e should be an ideal fit for the typical Lexus buyer.