Lexus LF-30 Concept: Its Least-Crazy Feature Is a Drone Butler

It also can make its windows opaque, display movies on its roof, and looks like an enormous spindle grille.

Toyota hasn't exactly been on the bleeding edge when it comes to bringing fully electric powered vehicles to market, but that's about to change soon if the Lexus LF-30 Electrified concept is any indication. The LF-30 is meant to serve as a vanguard vehicle for where Lexus is planning to go in the electrified powertrain, exterior-style, advanced-technology, and cabin-enhancement departments.

Its name for the overall plan is pretty on the nose: "Lexus Electrified." Under the strategy, the marque is aiming to offer an electric-boosted version of every vehicle it makes by 2025. Toyota and Lexus have been pioneers in parallel hybrid powertrain development, and they will use that expertise to offer even more traditional hybrid offerings, as well as plug-in hybrids and fully electric vehicles. To that end, Toyota has committed to building a dedicated battery-electric-vehicle platform.

The Lexus LF-30 Electrified concept is envisioned to be underpinned by this new architecture, as will be a production version of the LF-30 or similar whenever it arrives. Although the new platform will be used Toyota-wide, it will be optimized for Lexus applications, according to Lexus Electrified's Takashi Watanabe. Propelling the vehicle are four in-wheel electric motors, which should allow for advanced torque vectoring. The LF-30 Electrified also features the latest in Toyota steer by-wire technology and what is being called Lexus Advanced Posture Control, a setup that analyzes inputs from the suspension, steering, and e-motors to keep the car in an optimum position relative to driving style and road conditions.

The baseline metrics of the LF-30 Electrified's powertrain are impressive. Its 110-kWh battery pack, which is said to be a solid-state design, can be quick charged with a 150-kW capable port. Range for the 5,291-pound vehicle is said to be around 260 miles to a full charge, give or take. Performance metrics are estimated at around 3.6 seconds to 60 mph, total system torque is 516 lb-ft, and it tops out at 124 mph. The LF-30 also comes with wireless charging capability and has an artificial intelligence controller to balance the amount of electricity it uses for the car or push power back to the home charging network when appropriate.

Although its specs are about what we've come to expect from today's cutting-edge EVs, the LF-30's exterior looks are another matter. If you're not a fan of the Lexus spindle grille, we've got some bad news for you: Lexus says it has taken the form and expanded it throughout the LF-30's styling, creating a full blown spindle effect from front to back. Using the space afforded by not having an engine up front enabled designers to style a rising, wedge-like profile with angular, edgy fenders and a blocky rear with an even shorter overhang than the front. Several ducts were also added to cool the battery pack and the e-motors. Its expansive glass canopy can be lightened or darkened on the fly, it sports wild gullwing doors, and its lighting can be adjusted to signal to other drivers and pedestrians if it is in an autonomous mode.

The innovation is even more extreme in the cabin of the LF-30 Electrified, where a new concept Lexus calls "Tazuna" has been applied. The basic premise of Tazuna is of a rider and horse, an approach that aims to simplify the driving experience by stripping down the buttons and distractions and putting vehicle operations squarely in the driver's line of sight. A U-shaped steering wheel incorporates several key features and its instrument panel is heavily augmented by an advanced head-up display. In addition, the passenger gets their own instrument panel, features of which can be accessed using gesture control. Augmented reality is also used to further enhance the in-cabin experience. For example, rear-seat passengers have the ability to adjust the roof to display video or other media via voice or gesture controls; Lexus calls this feature "Sky Gate." As befitting a future-leaning vehicle, Lexus also says the LF-30 has autonomous chauffeur and vehicle-hailing abilities, and the steering wheel can be moved out of the way when its fully autonomous mode is enabled.

In case all this future tech wasn't enough, the LF-30 also has a drone on board. Yes, a drone. Called the Lexus Airporter, the drone is envisioned as a butler of sorts that could theoretically perform functions such as transport luggage from the car to your doorstep. We'll believe that when we see it, but it's an interesting concept.

While a good deal of what the LF-30 Electrified showcases is concept-style dreamland, one thing's for sure, an all-electric vehicle is coming from Lexus in the near future. Given how the market is shifting in that direction, it probably can't get here soon enough.

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