TOKYO -- Lexus has pulled the wraps on its first electric vehicle, a battery powered version of the UX compact crossover it says delivers brisk acceleration and a 400-kilometer (248-mile) range.
The UX 300e will go on sale in China and Europe next year and land in Japan in early 2021. Lexus said there were no immediate plans to sell the vehicle in the United States.
Toyota's premium brand unveiled the EV at the Guangzhou auto show in southern China on Friday as a step toward electrifying the entire Lexus lineup by 2025.
Leading with an EV offering for China and Europe is seen as crucial to meeting those markets' increasingly stringent emissions regulations. Lexus and Toyota have been seen as late to the EV race, preferring to lean more on the parent company's trademark gasoline-electric technology.
Lexus President Yoshihiro Sawa said last month the brand will develop a dedicated platform for EVs and a plug-in hybrid in the early 2020s. All nameplates will get an electrified offering by 2025.
Japan's top premium brand dubs the strategy "Lexus Electrified."
Having an EV on tap could further spur rapidly rising Lexus sales in China, where the brand was the fifth largest luxury car seller last year, behind Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Cadillac.
Despite an overall slump in China demand, Lexus has booked double-digit sales growth in China this year. In the first ten months, local deliveries advanced 22 percent to 160,914 vehicles.
"The all-electric UX 300e was developed for excellent on-road performance," Lexus said in a release. "Lexus engineers kept the distinctive design and the utility characteristics of the UX crossover intact and focused on the opportunities to build on the performance advantages unique to EVs. The UX 300e's high-output motor provides a natural-yet-brisk acceleration."
Under the hood, the full electric UX crossover teams a 54.3-kWh lithium ion battery with a 150-kw motor mounted in the front to produce 300 Nm (221 lbf) of maximum torque.
The UX 300e comes with paddle shifters that provide an engine brake feel when drivers click through different levels of battery regeneration while decelerating. Floorboard placement of the battery and low positioning of the motor provide good handling with a low center of gravity.
Lexus also says the electric UX has one of the quietest cabins in its class, thanks to better insulation. Wind-shedding wheel covers and an underbody cover also improve aerodynamics.
"The UX 300e provides excellent dynamic performance," Lexus said. "Drivers can feel the powerful acceleration and instant torque of the EV powertrain as they push the pedal."
Yang Jian and Jamie Butters contributed to this report