Meet Lexus' New Take on EVs: The LF-ZC and LF-ZL Concept Cars

It's no secret that Lexus has some trouble in the EV department. It borrowed Toyota's zero-emission solution for general mobility and created the RZ 450e, but that crossover SUV isn't enough to be considered a great all-around vehicle. However, the luxury automaker isn't ready to throw the towel in. Here's what the LZ-ZC and LF-ZL preview.
The Lexus LF-ZC and Lexus LF-ZL 25 photos
Photo: Lexus / autoevolution edit
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Two years ago, Lexus got us all hyped up for a daring-looking all-electric concept vehicle called the LF-Z. Some had the courage to insinuate that it could become the next LFA, even though it only previewed an evolved design language encapsulated into a crossover-ish shape.

Today, Lexus is coming forward with two new concepts. It feels like it's the automaker's imaginary world; all we do is live in it. But set aside that snarky remark because the brand might actually revolutionize the battery-electric vehicle sector.

Although other brands are well ahead in this respect, Lexus' sibling, Toyota, promised again that it would have a solid-state battery (SSB) on its hands in a few years. That energy storage unit can enable the two Japanese auto companies to bring lighter and more capable EVs to market.

The LF-ZC, which has just made its debut at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show, previews a sedan that seems to borrow some design cues from the recently revamped Toyota Prius. It will be put into production in 2026, so expect it to reach customers later that year or in 2027. However, remember that it's nearly six inches longer than the Prius.

Lexus LF\-ZC
Photo: Lexus
The LF-ZL, on the other hand, is more of a statement of intent. This BEV shows what the next-gen and zero-emission RX might look like, but it's too sci-fi with its rear minivan-like passenger doors.

But don't think that a design like this can't reach production. The luxurious Toyota Century (rumored to arrive in the US) can be optioned with automatic sliding doors for those sitting in the second row.
Lexus wants the LF-ZL to show fans and prospective customers that the brand can push boundaries and reach new heights in the automotive world.

Toyota's luxury division intends to "create the ultimate vehicle for each customer" through a symbiosis between hardware and software. That sounds great, but it's usually how automakers praise their concept cars.

The LF-ZL measures 208.6 inches (5,300 mm) in length, 86.6 inches (2,200 mm) in width, 66.9 inches (1,700 mm) in height, and has a wheelbase of 131.8 inches (3,350 mm).

The great thing about this introduction is that Lexus won't completely abandon making sedans. It'll also focus on sportiness, as the marque underlines its next-gen cars will feature a flat floor, a simplified dashboard (that will include a driver's and head-up display), a low seating position, and an ultra-wide screen that can be comfortably used by both the passenger and the person behind the steering wheel.

The two concept units also come with a low drag coefficient of less than 0.2 Cd and improved weight, which should help with electricity consumption. Considering the RZ 450e and its poor real-world range, that's a welcomed development.

Lexus LF\-ZC and LF\-ZL
Photo: Lexus
Both the LF-ZC and LF-ZL feature the "provocative simplicity" design language. They are a preview of Lexus' ambition to become a battery-electric vehicle brand in Europe by 2030 and globally by 2035. As expected, they also feature an artificial intelligence-based assistant.

The brand will soon debut a new modular vehicle structure that will help advance its goal. Will it encompass an SSB? It remains to be seen, but that's certainly a possibility. However, until then, other players like Tesla, Polestar, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi might just end up having the upper hand.

Finally, Lexus confirms that it will use gigacasting to make the production-ready version of the LF-ZC. Adopting what Tesla pioneered will allow the automaker to make its vehicles faster and easier and explore more form factors that can enhance the available interior space.

The company also wants to further automate the production process by eliminating the conveyor belt and replacing it with self-driving cars.

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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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