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Motoring News

Lexus Accelerates Electrification with Launch of Second All-Electric SUV

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Lexus Accelerates Electrification with Launch of Second All-Electric SUV

Lexus has made its second bold step into Australia’s EV market, launching the luxury-focused RZ 450e mid-sized battery-electric SUV priced from $123,000 plus on road costs.

The RZ BEV follows the brand’s first all-electric model, the UX 300e, which went on sale late last year and becomes part of Lexus’ commitment to offer electrification on all its models in Australia by 2030. Lexus’ RZ also beats the Toyota BZ4X BEV– with which it shares the platform and some drivetrain components – to market by about six months.

Lexus Australia CEO John Pappas said at the RZ launch in Adelaide this week that the SUV “marks a turning point in Lexus’ history.”

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“It is the first Lexus designed from the outset as a BEV. It also brings all the fine qualities of refinement and luxury expected of the brand andpackages it in a car that redefines the driving relationship.

The RZ is built on Toyota’s e-TNGA platform – to be used in the BZ4X and Subaru Solterra – but unlike these two, comes exclusively with two electric motors and constant all-wheel drive.

Lexus has loaded the RZ with all the luxury features and a comprehensive safety inventory built under its ‘takumi’ craftsmanship and mandate for high build quality. Externally it carries the decade-old ‘spindle grILLE’ theme but the shape appears only as a body-coloured panel and not as an operating intake for an engine’s cooling system. Mr Pappas said the ‘reinterpretation’ of the design language of previous Lexus models still retained the brand’s distinctive cues while marking it as “something very new”.

Two variants are available – the RZ 450e Luxury ($123,000 plus on-road costs) and the RZ 450e Sports Luxury ($135,000 plus costs) with the only option being black dual-tone paint for an additional $4200.

Both versions have the same drivetrain – two motors each powering the front and rear axles with a combined 230kW and 435Nm of torque. Lexus said that almost 20 years of expertise in battery and hybrid technology is within the RZ “resulting in a battery designed to perform at the highest levels and backed with a leading 10-year/unlimited km warranty.”

Standard equipment for the Luxury includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights with static auto-levelling and headlight washers, LED daytime running lights, rear spoiler, rear privacy glass and driver’s side auto-dimming with auto power folding function.

NuLuxe upholstery is standard in both variants but varies in its look and feel. The Luxury comes with ‘NuLuxe’ upholstery, eight-way driver and front passenger power adjustable seats with two-way driver lumbar adjustment, 14-inch multimedia display, 10-speaker Panasonic audio with digital radio, wired Android Auto and wireless Apple Carplay, five USB-C ports, a wireless phone charger and a smart key card.

The Sports Luxury adds 20-inch alloy wheels, acoustic glass, dynamic auto-levelling headlights with cornering function, Ultrasuede (vegan) interior trim, heated outer rear seats, ventilated driver and front passenger seats, heated steering wheel and the new radiant front heating feature for front passengers.

The upmarket version also gets a 13-speaker Mark Levinson hi-fi premium audio system, three-position driver’s seat memory, touch sensitive steering wheel controls, head-up display, adaptive high-beam system, intelligent park assist and a panoramic roof with dimmable glass.

Mr Pappas said the ‘drive-by-wire’ electronic steering system shown in overseas markets is likely to come to Australia as an option but is “12 to 18 months away.” He said the hold-up was related to meeting ADR compliance.

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Revolutionary Electric GMC Hummer EV Ute Confirmed for Australian Market

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Revolutionary Electric GMC Hummer EV Ute Confirmed for Australian Market

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Electric vehicles are revolutionising the automotive industry, and the latest entrant to the electrified arena is the iconic GMC Hummer EV pick-up. With the first right-hand-drive conversion underway, Australia is poised to welcome this electrifying behemoth as part of a global export initiative.

The 2024 GMC Hummer EV pick-up, renowned for its rugged prowess and cutting-edge technology, is set to make its mark Down Under, thanks to a strategic partnership with Global Conversions based in the United Arab Emirates. As pioneers in vehicle conversions to right-hand drive, Global Conversions specialises in adapting vehicles predominantly sourced from the United States to meet the specific requirements of international markets.

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Under the skilled hands of Global Conversions, the Hummer EV pick-up is undergoing rigorous testing and evaluation following its transformation from left-hand drive to right-hand drive configuration. This milestone marks the commencement of a comprehensive export program spanning across 77 countries, with Australia positioned at the forefront of this ambitious endeavour.

Chairman Suresh Edirisinghe has affirmed Global Conversions’ commitment to producing the Hummer EV pick-up in right-hand drive, catering to the discerning tastes of Australian customers. Both the entry-level two-motor and the more powerful three-motor versions of the Hummer EV pick-up, equipped with all-wheel drive and all-wheel steering as standard, will be made available for Australian enthusiasts.

While exact pricing and availability details for the Australian market are yet to be disclosed, the US pricing for the two variants provides an initial insight. The base ‘2x’ two-motor version starts from $US98,845 ($AU149,879), while the higher-spec ‘3x’ three-motor version commands a price of $US106,945 ($AU162,062). These figures reflect the Hummer EV pick-up’s formidable capabilities, with the ‘3x’ variant boasting a staggering 745kW of power and a range of 613km between recharges.

Powered by General Motors’ cutting-edge Ultium battery technology, the Hummer EV pick-up promises blistering performance coupled with impressive efficiency. Its 800V architecture facilitates rapid charging, with up to 160km of range achievable after just 10 minutes of charging. These features position the Hummer EV pick-up as a formidable contender in the rapidly evolving electric vehicle landscape.

As Australia embraces the electric vehicle revolution, General Motors remains committed to delivering right-hand-drive vehicles tailored to local preferences. With the GMC Hummer EV pick-up poised to electrify Australian roads, the automotive landscape is set for a monumental shift towards sustainable mobility.

In addition to the Hummer EV pick-up, General Motors’ portfolio of electrified vehicles includes the Cadillac Lyriq SUV, slated for an Australian debut in late 2024. With a steadfast commitment to producing right-hand-drive vehicles, General Motors aims to cater to the evolving needs of Australian consumers while driving the adoption of electric vehicles in the region.

As the automotive industry embraces electrification, Australia stands at the forefront of this transformative journey, poised to embrace the future of mobility with open arms. With the impending arrival of the GMC Hummer EV pick-up, Australian enthusiasts can look forward to experiencing the thrill of electrifying performance, redefining the notion of rugged adventure in the age of sustainability.

 

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Genesis Australia expansion

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Genesis Australia expansion

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Genesis Australia is gearing up for an expansion of its product lineup, with the eagerly anticipated introduction of the GV90 SUV expected to be the brand’s next groundbreaking model. Following the unveiling of the Neolun concept earlier this year, the GV90 is poised to join Genesis Australia’s rapidly growing portfolio of luxury vehicles.

In a recent interview with Drive, Justin Douglass, head of Genesis Australia, revealed plans to bolster the current portfolio by adding at least one more model, with the goal of achieving a total of six models by 2030. While Genesis Australia boasts an impressive lineup, including the G70 and G80 sedans, the GV70 and GV80 SUVs, and the GV60 electric car, the absence of the G90 sedan is notable due to its exclusive production in left-hand-drive configuration.

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The forthcoming GV90 is expected to be a full-size seven-seat SUV, strategically positioned to compete with flagship models such as the BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS. While details about the GV90 remain somewhat elusive, insights gleaned from the Neolun concept showcased at the New York motor show offer some tantalising clues.

It’s widely speculated that the production GV90 will be an electric vehicle, likely sharing size similarities with the Kia EV9. However, what sets it apart could be its underpinnings, potentially built on Hyundai Motor Group’s eM electric platform as part of the Integrated Modular Architecture system.
Production of the GV90 is slated to commence toward the end of next year, which could delay its introduction to the Australian market until 2026 or 2027. Additionally, Genesis Australia may explore the possibility of introducing a production sports car, hinted at by past performance concepts like the Genesis X Convertible concept.

While specifics regarding Genesis’ future plans remain closely guarded, there’s a growing likelihood of incorporating more hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains into the lineup, aligning with market demands and the brand’s evolving strategy. Douglass emphasised Genesis’ unwavering commitment to meeting customer expectations, hinting at potential developments that resonate with market trends and customer preferences.

 

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Electric Vehicle Sales in Australia See First Decline in Over Three Years Amidst Ongoing Hybrid Boom

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Electric Vehicle Sales in Australia See First Decline in Over Three Years Amidst Ongoing Hybrid Boom

 

In a notable shift in the Australian auto market, electric vehicle (EV) sales in Australia experienced their first downturn since late 2020, marking the end of a significant growth period. According to the latest industry figures, EV registrations dropped by 5% in April, with 6,194 units sold compared to 6,530 in the same month last year.

This decline interrupts a streak of substantial growth for EVs, which had seen consistent triple-digit year-on-year increases since early 2021. The slowdown began in the latter half of 2023, transitioning to more moderate double-digit growth rates. Year-to-date, EV sales are up by 32%, a decrease from the 46% increase recorded in the first quarter of 2024.

Tesla, a leading name in the EV market, saw a significant sales decrease of 44% year-on-year to 2,077 units, despite remaining the top-selling EV brand in April. The company has recently announced further price reductions for its Model 3 sedan and Model Y SUV in an effort to boost sales.

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Meanwhile, Chinese automaker BYD reported a 26% increase in year-on-year sales, driven by the new Seal sedan, though its Atto 3 SUV saw a substantial 63% drop in sales. Other newcomers to the Australian EV market, including models from Ford, Subaru, and Toyota, have yet to make a significant impact.

Hybrid vehicles, on the other hand, continue to see explosive growth. Hybrid sales surged by 195% in April 2024 compared to the same month in the previous year, with year-to-date sales of combustion-electric vehicles also up nearly 140%. Plug-in hybrids are enjoying a similar uptick in popularity.

Diesel vehicles have also shown positive movement, with a 14% increase year-to-date following a 22% rise in April. In contrast, petrol vehicle sales have remained relatively flat, showing a slight decrease in April.

This shifting landscape raises questions about whether April’s downturn in EV sales is an isolated incident or an early sign of Australia aligning with trends of declining EV sales observed in markets like the US and Europe.

 

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