Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Browse our selections of frequently asked questions on Lexus full hybrid technology below.
HOW RELIABLE IS LEXUS HYBRID DRIVE?
Vehicles powered by Lexus Hybrid Drive are very reliable. Independent tests show our Lexus Hybrid Drive models to be as reliable as our petrol and diesel powered vehicles. Reliability is helped by the durability of Lexus Hybrid Drive components. For instance, the car's electric motor(s) and generators are completely maintenance free, and the V6 or V8 petrol engine usually runs in optimum conditions, meaning a long engine life.
HOW LONG DOES THE HYBRID BATTERY KEEP ITS CHARGE/LAST?
The battery management system ensures that the hybrid battery remains charged under normal circumstances. The system constantly monitors battery charge levels and ensures there is no excessive draining or recharging of the battery. It computes the cumulative amount of discharge under electric motor usage and intelligently replenishes the battery charge, either through regenerative braking or by converting surplus engine power into electricity. In this way, Lexus Hybrid Drive aims to keep the battery charge at a relatively constant level and ensures that the battery last as long as the car. The advanced compact battery is covered by the warranty of every hybrid vehicle we deliver. In normal use, we expect the battery to last much longer than the length of this warranty. The avoidance of excessive battery draining/recharging significantly contributes to the long life of the battery.
HOW FAR CAN I TRAVEL ON BATTERY POWER ALONE?
While Lexus Hybrid Drive will operate on battery power alone at low speeds, the system intelligently keeps the battery topped up to a certain minimum level. The actual distance you can travel purely on battery power depends on a variety of factors, including road conditions, the level of battery charge and vehicle load.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING REGENERATIVE BRAKING?
Lexus Hybrid Drive features advanced regenerative braking technology. When you brake or decelerate, the kinetic energy produced is captured and converted into electricity. In conventional cars, this energy would be wasted as heat. During regenerative braking, the electric motor operates as a secondary generator to convert kinetic energy into electric energy. This is then stored in the high-voltage compact battery for later use. The recapturing of energy which would otherwise be lost as heat, noise and friction can contribute to a petrol saving of around 1 litre per 100 km.
DO YOU HAVE TO EXTERNALLY CHARGE THE BATTERY IN A LEXUS HYBRID DRIVE MODEL?
No. Lexus vehicles never need to be plugged in to mains power. This is because our Lexus Hybrid Drive technology automatically recharges the car's advanced compact battery, either through regenerative braking or by generating electricity while you're cruising at higher speeds.
HOW LONG WILL LEXUS MAKE HYBRIDS?
We see hybrid technology remaining at the core of our long-term drivetrain development programme as we strive to develop the ultimate zero emissions performance car. Our goal is to take hybrid technology to the next phase of its evolutionary progress, whether it is with a petrol, diesel or fuel cell powerplant. One example is our Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle (FCHV) that was released on a limited distribution basis in Japan in 2002. This next generation hybrid employs a fuel cell in which electricity is produced by allowing hydrogen and oxygen to react chemically. Here the fuel cell replaces the petrol engine in the hybrid system, meaning the only emission is water vapour. Lexus Hybrid Drive is a key technology, offering great potential and will be used far into the future.
WHAT ADVANTAGES DOES LEXUS HYBRID DRIVE HAVE OVER OTHER COMPETING HYBRID SYSTEMS?
Lexus was the first marque to introduce full hybrid technology to the luxury car in 2005 with the launch of the RX 400h. Since then, we have continued to refine our full hybrid technology through multiple model generations, and cars with Lexus Hybrid Drive have covered millions of miles in real-life driving conditions. Our technology is proven, reliable, intelligent and sophisticated. Lexus Hybrid Drive has been developed solely by Lexus for use in luxury vehicles, based on advanced technology used in over one million hybrid units. And now we offer a complete range of the world's most powerful, full hybrid, luxury cars delivering a combination of high performance, quiet running, improved fuel economy and lower emissions that cannot be matched. Compared with other competing hybrid systems, Lexus full hybrid technology enables the vehicle to run purely on electric power at lower speeds. In Electric Vehicle mode, Lexus full hybrid models create zero emissions. Competitor systems do not offer this, as they employ a far smaller electric motor which only supplements the combustion engine and never powers the vehicle alone.
HOW DO LEXUS HYBRID DRIVE VEHICLES DIFFER FROM THE EQUIVALENT PETROL VERSION?
All Lexus Hybrid Drive models are specified with a seamlessly smooth Hybrid Transmission, rather than a conventional automatic gearbox and feature the world's most advanced Power Control Unit.As our Lexus Hybrid Drive vehicles are the top models in their respective ranges, they also enjoy higher equipment levels. Please refer to the relevant model range section for additional information.The CT, RX and LS are only available in Hybrid vehicles in the UK.
HOW IS LEXUS HYBRID DRIVE USED IN DIFFERENT DRIVING CONDITIONS?
Driving a Lexus Hybrid Drive vehicle is a unique experience. Accelerate hard and the Power Control Unit (PCU) manages the combined resources of the V6 or V8 petrol engine and the electric motor(s) to give seamless and incredibly fast linear acceleration. The PCU also manages the efficient generation, storage and allocation of electric energy. At cruising speeds, the generator often converts surplus engine power into electricity to be stored in the advanced compact battery. At other times - when you're braking for example - the battery is also charged, making use of kinetic energy that in other cars is wasted as heat. As you coast or descend a hill, the system may see an opportunity to save petrol and reduce emissions by switching off the engine. At low speeds - in city traffic, for example - power often comes solely from the electric motor(s). It's near silent and free of all emissions - not just CO2 but also NOx and particulates. And that means cleaner air for all to breathe. All this takes places so seamlessly that you'll probably never even notice when the petrol engine starts or stops.
WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM SPEED THE HYBRID DRIVE VEHICLE TRAVELS BEFORE THE PETROL ENGINE STARTS?
This depends on various factors, including the temperature of the hybrid system (if it's cold the engine will usually start to warm lubricant and cooling systems), battery charge level, general driving conditions and vehicle load. Under gentle acceleration with a well-charged battery, Lexus Hybrid Drive vehicles are capable of achieving approximately 30 km/h using only the electric motor or motors.
CAN I SWITCH BETWEEN POWER SOURCES?
The driver never has to change power sources as this is all managed seamlessly by the Power Control Unit. However, you can choose to switch to “zero emissions” Electric Vehicle mode for a short period where conditions permit.
CAN I LEAVE MY LEXUS HYBRID DRIVE VEHICLE FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME, WHILE ON HOLIDAY FOR EXAMPLE, WITHOUT HAVING TO RECHARGE THE BATTERY?
As with all vehicles, if left for an extended period of time without use, especially in severe weather conditions, it may need recharging. However, in the unlikely event that the battery discharges completely, the petrol engine will start the car. Lexus Hybrid Drive technology then ensures that the advanced compact battery will be efficiently re-charged as you drive. At cruising speeds, the generator will convert surplus engine power into electricity. And when decelerating, regenerative braking ensures kinetic energy is intelligently captured and converted into electricity to recharge the battery.