Toyota and Lexus have been slow to the EV game, after years of heavy focus on hybrids and even hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. However, while the Japanese auto giants remain invested in those technologies, much of the rest of the automotive world is moving rapidly toward electrification.
Not to be left out, Toyota announced the bZ4X EV, which it developed in partnership with Subaru. Now, it's Lexus' turn in the spotlight with its announcement of the upcoming RZ 450e electric crossover.
The RZ shares a platform with the Toyota bZ4x, which means a two-row SUV with reasonable range and all-wheel drive. The Toyota delivers a range of more than 300 miles and will be offered in both front- and all-wheel drive formats, but it's likely the more upscale Lexus will pick up the AWD power train only.
The RZ should also bring improvements on the Toyota's all-wheel drive 0-60 mph time of 7.7 seconds. Lexus will likely also include DC fast charging capabilities, as the Toyota can charge to around 8 percent in a half-hour.
Other than a few teases, Lexus hasn't shared much on the RZ's styling and design. The carefully cropped images it has shared show its signature LED running lights over sharply styled headlights and a closed grille, but not much else.
That said, there's a good change it will sidestep the wide swaths of black plastic seen on the Toyota EV.
Analysis: a great thing for buyers
As an enthusiast, it's hard to get excited about another electric crossover, but it's a great thing for buyers, who clearly prefer the lifted utility vehicles over sedans these days.
As Lexus' first dedicated EV (it won't be available with hybrid or ICE power trains, like the UX 300e), the RZ also shouldn't be looked at as the pinnacle of design and performance, nor should it be viewed as the best the automaker can do.
We know that Toyota has a variety of EVs planned in segments that range from compact pickup trucks to supercars, so there should be little doubt Lexus will benefit from its parent company's ambitions.
If you're hoping to catch a glimpse of the RZ 450e during the unveiling event, tune in to the live web stream (opens in new tab) on April 20 at 6am ET / 11am BST.