At the Japan Mobility Show 2023, the successor of the Tokyo Motor Show after four years of absence, Lexus introduced concept models under the theme ‘Pushing the Boundaries of the Electrified Experience’, envisioning new possibilities for mobility through electric cars.
The Lexus booth hosted the global debut of the next-generation Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) concept car LF-ZC, set for release in 2026, along with the BEV flagship model LF-ZL, which offers a glimpse into the brand’s future.
“Lexus is committed to becoming an electric brand by 2035, a transition that will involve fundamentally reassessing vehicle architecture through a new modular structure, implementing cutting-edge production technology, and fully integrating a comprehensive new software platform,” states the manufacturer.
The LF-ZC (LF for Lexus Future and ZC for Zero-emission Catalyst) concept introduced today is part of the forthcoming next-generation Lexus BEV line-up, due for market launch in 2026.
As the name suggests, the model wants “to catalyze new experiences in the electric age, including elevated driving dynamics, uncompromised design, and new exclusive services”. Lexus already showed an LF-Z EV concept in 2021, a coupé-shaped crossover bound for the market in 2025, but has been shelved.
The new design theme, ‘Provocative Simplicity’, aims to create a striking presence through a sleek, refined design. Focusing on aerodynamics and incorporating unique BEV functional and structural elements, the design team pursued an eye-catching form with a low center of gravity that hints at a great driving experience.
LF-ZC has a sleek silhouette extending from the low-slung hood and tapering the cabin toward the rear. The prominent rear wheel flares are accentuated, trying to balance between high aerodynamic performance (under 0,20 of drag coefficient) and a wide stance.
The spindle body design, typical for Lexus, is accentuated. It extends beyond the front face and continues along the door sides and rear bumper. Functionality has led to distinctive design features by integrating aerodynamic elements like air intakes and outlets.
The front occupants are positioned low forward to create spaciousness in the interior. The fully flat floor and panoramic roof add to the general feeling of roominess and excellent sight.
Various functions, previously spread across a wide cockpit area, have now been consolidated into the digital pad within arm’s reach. The controls for vehicle functions like shifting, ADAS, and drive mode selection are all located within the left digital pad.
Convenience features such as music, climate control, phone, and AI functions have been grouped within the right digital pad, designed for an intuitive and easy-to-use layout.
The ‘eyes on the road’ principle is applied by adopting a set-back meter display that projects information onto the front windshield using the same concept as a HUD. Additionally, digital mirrors are installed on both sides of the vehicle.
The expansive monitor on the front passenger side functions as a highly programmable open platform for entertainment and wants to be open for diverse applications of future mobility.
In line with Lexus’s sustainability philosophy, bamboo has been chosen as the signature material for a circular economy that efficiently reduces, reuses, and recycles valuable environmental resources. “Bamboo strikes a balance between its fast growth, significant CO2 absorption capacity, and the enduring beauty it has offered in Japan for centuries as a material for construction and crafts,” says the press release.
By incorporating bamboo into the design of next-generation BEVs through various techniques, Lexus wants to elevate electric vehicles to a new level of luxury and beauty with both practical and decorative appeal. There are elements incorporating bamboo fibers and fabrics woven with bamboo thread.
Using next-generation compact prismatic high-performance batteries, LF-ZC aims to achieve approximately twice the range of current BEVs (around 1 000 km?), alleviating range anxiety concerns. Further technical details about the drive and batteries haven’t been published yet. The first cars won’t use solid-state batteries yet.
A next-generation voice recognition system utilizes advanced AI technology called ‘Butler’, using self-learning functions for software customization and allowing the vehicle to automatically set optimal personal settings for each customer with every drive. Butler also aims to provide a more personalized driving experience by accumulating driving data.
Adopting the all-new Arene Operating System aims to provide an unprecedented experience in vehicle driving dynamics. With just one vehicle, it will be possible to replicate various car operations, driving characteristics, sounds, and vibrations tailored to individual preferences.
Combining Steer-by-Wire and OTA (over-the-air connectivity) will allow customers to implement their preferred settings. Lexus says that with the aid of such OTA updates, the car wants to grow with the customer.
LF-ZC is an electric sedan of 4,75 m in length and 1,88 m in width but only 1,39 m in height, emphasizing its low stance. It has a wheelbase of 2,89 m and a very low and flat floor, wanting to emphasize the air of roominess inside the car.
The huge LF-ZL (Lexus Future, Zero-emission Luxury) represents a future Lexus flagship luxury model, aiming to offer a prestigious ownership experience beyond just the car, driven by next-generation BEV architecture and software advancements from the new Arene OS.
“Taking advantage of the freedom in BEV-specific packaging and optimizing interior space, LF-ZL has a spacious and serene cabin where traditional Omotenashi features are elevated through technology for an unprecedented mobility experience,” says the press release.
Here, the car also uses Arene OS, generating fresh experiential value by enabling interaction with a range of societal infrastructure and services. Through ‘Interactive Reality in Motion’, the car’s onboard sensors work with digital data from the surroundings.
“When drivers point to objects or places of interest during their journey, the car’s display promptly delivers information and voice guidance, enabling the car to enhance the connection between occupants and their surroundings.”
The LF-ZL has an SUV design and serious proportions. It measures 5,30 m long, 2,20 m in width, and is 1,70 m high. The wheelbase extends to 3,35 m, indicating that the interior space has to be huge. Here, also, nothing is said about the drive.