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[NEWS] Lexus banks on hybrids despite looming 2030 ICE ban

Lexus banks on hybrids despite looming 2030 ICE ban

Lexus LBX copper front quarter static
The new Lexus LBX will only be offered with a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain

Strong residual values and a high ratio of zero-emissions running give the Japanese brand confidence

Lexus's hybrid cars are still "relevant", despite the looming ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars, Lexus Europe boss Dimitris Tripospitis has told Autocar.

The UK government will ban sales of new cars without a "significant zero-emissions capability" from 2030, although it's yet to define what this means for manufacturers.

In the meantime, it will introduce a sales mandate for zero-emissions vehicles, requiring 22% of a maker’s deliveries to be ZEVs from next year and ramping up thereafter.

Discussing the launch of the new Lexus LBX hybrid, deliveries of which are set to begin in the first quarter of 2024, Tripospitis said he was unworried by the potentially short shelf life of the crossover.

He said: “You can imagine we've done a lot of clinics, as everybody [does], I guess. It was very obvious that for the next few years, the majority of the European market is still not moving to EVs. Which means that if you look at the continent, it's a relevant technology to have the hybrid for the car.

"For the UK market in specific, of course, we need to study the mandate. Things are moving very fast. 

“For the next few years, I believe the technology is relevant, because it has all the benefits. The ‘self-charging’ hybrid [in its] fifth generation has a lot of technology benefits."

Autocar recently reported that Lexus parent company Toyota believes that its parallel-hybrid powertrains perform enough zero-emissions running to qualify as significant-zero-emission vehicles.

Toyota UK manufacturing boss Richard Kenworthy said: “What we can demonstrate is that 80% of the time and 50% of the distance is zero-emissions for hybrids in urban environments.”

Kenworthy added that “we believe hybrid is part of the solution that allows us to get carbon down as quickly as possible”.

As for the LBX, product manager Bart Eelen told journalists that “over 50% of EV running is what we expect" and its CO2 emissions are likely to be “comfortably below 120g/km”.

Tripospitis also pointed to the strong residual values of non-EVs in markets with a high ratio of electrification as reason not to be concerned.

He said: “If I give you an example, in Norway, which is the most electrified market in the world, the used car value of non-EVs is very high, although the market is 85% EV already. And that at least tells me that I didn't understand better the impact of the mandate in the UK for the used car market. 

“I can have an opinion: they’re selling very well at a good price because the supply is not so high, so people who want to buy a used non-EV car, maybe they find it and they pay good money for it.

“So for new car sales in the coming years, I think the UK is an important market for us, and I hope they can sell a lot of this car. Five or six years down the road, let's see. 

“In the classical Lexus way, we study a lot and we anticipate things. So you should expect my colleagues from Lexus UK [to] analyse, and then we make assumptions of the future market based on the decisions of the government, our character and our stances to it. If this is given, then there will be countermeasures over the strategies about it.

“This will happen in every market, and this will play its role. I hope there will be either a second-hand or first-hand role for the [LBX], but I think we're not there yet. There's a few more years to go."

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