Joining the ranks of other luxury automakers, Lexus is considering alternative powertrains for its flagship LS sedan. In fact, the luxury carmaker is considering slotting in new powertrains into this generation of the car, which is launching right now.
LS chief engineer Toshio Asahi recently told Australian publication GoAuto the company is looking at everything from plug-in hybrid power to hydrogen fuel cell variants of the LS. A pure electric version of the car is also under consideration.
Lexus is not numb to its competitors. Mercedes and BMW are already offering plug-in hybrid versions of their flagship sedans, with Mercedes now confirmed to be working on a pure electric flagship sedan. There’s also Tesla with its Model S.
Asahi did not offer a timeline as to when the company will pin down its options for future LS power. He did confirm the company is also looking at ways of improving the current LS hybrid powertrain.
Currently the LS is available with a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 that generates 415 horsepower. The LS 500h is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 and hybrid powertrain to generate 354 horsepower. It is worth noting the new V-6 hybrid offers better performance than the old LS hybrid that was utilizing a V-8 engine.
Of the options Lexus is looking at for the LS, a plug-in hybrid variant seems to be the most plausible. Toyota has been slow to rollout pure electric vehicles, insisting it is waiting for solid-state battery technology to evolve before rolling out many battery-electric products.
Toyota has been a leader in hydrogen fuel-cell technology, but the overall lack of fueling infrastructure globally presents an obvious challenge for any fuel cell vehicle. That said, Asahi asserted Lexus will offer a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle sooner than most people would expect. Will it be in the LS? Time will tell.