2018 lexus lc hybrid hero
Alice Bartkowski 17 / 04 / 2017

ENTERING A NEW ERA OF HYBRID POWERTRAIN TECHNOLOGY WITH THE NEW LEXUS LC 500h

  • Lexus’ hybrid technology has a fine record for delivering smooth, sophisticated performance and efficiency appropriate for luxury cars. But when it came to providing power for the new LC flagship coupe, something different was needed.
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  Koji Oshima, Multi-Stage Hybrid System Engineer

    LEXUS CHIEF ENGINEERS

    Chief Engineer Koji Sato and Koji Oshima, his colleague in charge of hybrid powertrains, agreed that it had to appeal to the driving enthusiast. After all, it was part of the LC’s purpose to change people’s perceptions about the Lexus brand. But how could this be achieved with a hybrid?

    “We couldn’t simply use the technology as it stood and put it in the LC,” Sato explained. “We needed to re-think how the entire drivetrain concept of balancing engine and electric motor power is applied to create a different experience.”

    The fundamental question was “what needs to be done to make a hybrid feel good”. For Oshima, this included a more emotive sound, better matched to the car’s acceleration. - He also felt it was crucial to eliminate the feeling of lag that can happen when you come off the throttle when approaching a bend.

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    BACK TO BASICS

    Their plan went right back to basics, calling on research that had actually started almost a decade ago, to produce a hybrid powertrain that makes better use of electric power and strengthens the performance of each component in the system.

    More than eight years and many thousands of testing miles later, the innovative Lexus Multi Stage Hybrid System was born. It’s a system that makes maximum use of Lexus’ hybrid know-how to bring more emotion and excitement to the hybrid driving experience. It retains the best characteristics of the technology in terms of superior fuel efficiency, quietness and smooth operation when required. What’s more, it’s also able to deliver a heavy dose of performance, thanks to significantly stronger torque and a new approach to the way in which electric power is delivered.

  • The clever use of a four-speed shift device in the system effectively gives the LC 500h the performance of a 10-speed automatic gearbox, with seamless shifts that take less than 100 milliseconds to complete. One of the most advanced automotive units currently in production, it also overcomes the issue of acceleration lag. Thanks to the extra gear,s it allows the drivertrain to change engine revs to best match the driver’s needs. Acceleration is rapid from start-up and more direct and linear, being better synchronised with the driver’s use of the throttle pedal.

    Advanced battery technology plays an important part, too. The LC 500h uses lithium-ion cells arranged in a new “satellite” configuration. The result is a higher power output from a unit that is lighter and more compact. In fact, the weight saved in the battery design completely offsets the weight of the Multi Stage Hybrid transmission system.Unlike a conventional drivetrain that uses a petrol or diesel engine alone, the Multi Stage Hybrid System uses electric motors as the primary means of transmitting energy to the wheels, via the unique arrangement we have designed with an advanced automatic transmission,” Oshima explained.

    “Electric motors deliver power much more quickly than a combustion engine, thanks to the massive amount of torque they generate. This means drivers will find the hybrid-powered LC 500h remarkably responsive as well as smooth and fun to drive.”

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    2018 lexus lc hybrid3
  • The clever use of a four-speed shift device in the system effectively gives the LC 500h the performance of a 10-speed automatic gearbox, with seamless shifts that take less than 100 milliseconds to complete. One of the most advanced automotive units currently in production, it also overcomes the issue of acceleration lag. Thanks to the extra gear,s it allows the drivertrain to change engine revs to best match the driver’s needs. Acceleration is rapid from start-up and more direct and linear, being better synchronised with the driver’s use of the throttle pedal.

    Advanced battery technology plays an important part, too. The LC 500h uses lithium-ion cells arranged in a new “satellite” configuration. The result is a higher power output from a unit that is lighter and more compact. In fact, the weight saved in the battery design completely offsets the weight of the Multi Stage Hybrid transmission system.Unlike a conventional drivetrain that uses a petrol or diesel engine alone, the Multi Stage Hybrid System uses electric motors as the primary means of transmitting energy to the wheels, via the unique arrangement we have designed with an advanced automatic transmission,” Oshima explained.

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    “Electric motors deliver power much more quickly than a combustion engine, thanks to the massive amount of torque they generate. This means drivers will find the hybrid-powered LC 500h remarkably responsive as well as smooth and fun to drive.”