Toyota, the parent company of Lexus, has made some big noises in recent years on the hydrogen fuel cell front.

Currently, the brand’s only passenger car model is the Mirai FCEV, which is a big, very Lexus-like sedan, particularly in terms of its feel and presentation.

No doubt a statement of future intent by Toyota, we thought it was only fair to put the ‘where’s the Lexus version?’ question to Lexus Australia boss, John Pappas, at the launch of the RZ mid-size fully electric SUV.

“We haven’t confirmed anything on the hydrogen front for Lexus, but I’d never say never,” he said. “It would certainly fit in as one of our power sources,” adding that it was a move in the right direction that recent government initiatives had “even set money aside for hydrogen”.

Lexus’ local line-up is notable for offering everything from a 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 in the LC500, to hybrid electrics for every model bar the LX and RZ, the plug-in hybrid NX mid-size SUV, and now two fully electric models including the RZ and UX.

Hydrogen may well be the missing piece of the puzzle, and while Pappas wouldn’t give us an indication of when we might see one, it is notable that Lexus released a fuel cell concept dubbed the LF-FC way back in 2015 which looks a lot like it could share its underpinnings with Toyota’s Mirai.

In fact, images at the time show a nearly identical layout to the Mirai, with two hydrogen storage chambers running in a T shape down the centre and across the rear axle of the vehicle in a cutaway image.

Outside, the LF-FC shares similar styling points, but with a more coupe-like silhouette compared to the production Toyota.

The use of hydrogen as an alternative to battery electrics is a promising prospect, with the technology offering lighter weight and longer driving range than a battery electric vehicle, with the refuelling time equivalent to that of a petrol vehicle.

As such, the technology could be thought of as a replacement for diesel, as it allows heavy vehicles to be electrified without the need for huge amounts of batteries eating into their payload.

Extremely high infrastructure costs, which Toyota and Hyundai both think can be overcome by a commercial-vehicle-first approach, is one of the main factors holding the industry back from more widespread adoption of the technology.

Regardless, Toyota’s marketing and communications boss Sean Hanley told CarsGuide some time ago that the brand believes hydrogen will enter the mainstream “in time” but its greatest strength was “offering a diverse range of technologies” and not subscribing to a “one-size-fits-all” approach as other players in the market are moving to with battery-electric-only line-ups.

His comments were echoed by Pappas, who said one of Lexus’ greatest strengths was its “technology agnostic” approach instead of “focusing on one powertrain”.

“We don’t think people should be spending $50k extra on a car if they don’t need to,” he said of a battery-electric-only approach. “We think we’re bringing products out at a certain time which we think suit the market. The new RX is 85 percent electrified [via hybrids] which has exceeded what we had planned.”

“This is what I mean by customers choosing what they want. The battery electric RZ gives us an opportunity to see what our customers have to say about BEVs in the luxury space.”

Sourced Externally from:  https://www.carsguide.com.au/car-news/will-we-see-a-hydrogen-fuel-cell-lexus-not-yet-but-the-japanese-luxury-brand-says-it-would

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