Whooping with Delight--Behind the Scenes of RZ Development


Yuta Tomikawa gets his turn in the car that had Chairman Akio Toyoda and President Koji Sato whooping with delight. A report on the RZ development team's travails leading up to the launch.

“Woahh!” A shout of joy escapes Tomikawa’s lips as he grips the wheel of the RZ, Lexus’ first dedicated BEV model, in this week’s feature.

Amid talk of cars becoming commoditized in the shift to BEVs, the development team sought to reach new heights of driving pleasure and comfort. “The moment you get in the car and the tires start rolling, we wanted people to feel that this is indeed a Lexus,” says RZ chief engineer Takashi Watanabe.

Through their process of trial and error, the team was committed to achieving that unique Lexus feel. With intimate footage from the development genba, the program delves into the various elements that make up the RZ.

The RZ features the new DIRECT4 all-wheel-drive system, which controls the movement of the front and rear wheels according to factors such as the vehicle’s orientation and load. Offering greater driving stability, the system was inspired by the motion of a certain animal.

Also present on the development scene was racing driver Masahiro Sasaki, offering advice from a pro driver’s perspective: “The wheels aren’t keeping up. Boosting front torque will make it turn better.”

Rain or snow, the team continued to make countless test runs and adjustments, a sign of their extraordinary passion.

Their dedication to pleasing all the senses could also be found in unexpected places. While reducing noise with the shift to EV, the developers worked with the motor to create a driving sound that conveys how the car is running. Make sure to check out the RZ’s unique sound for yourself.

In the program, we will also introduce the new steer-by-wire system under development, which guides the tires using electrical signals to offer drivers more intuitive control.

We also introduce the steering system under development

Toyota Times also checks in on a test drive session for Lexus dealership staff from around Japan. These “BEV Concierges” discussed ways to resolve the questions and concerns that customers may have about BEVs.

“Toyota Around the World” showcases the Bangkok Motor Show, where the RZ was also unveiled. Find out the unexpected turn of events that awaits Tomikawa during his report!

01:02 Lexus’ BEV strategy
02:21 How does the RZ feel?
05:19 Behind the scenes of trial-and-error development
07:05 New levels of comfort
09:30 Pleasing all the senses
11:06 The new steer-by-wire control system under development
13:06 RZ chief engineer Takashi Watanabe on what makes Lexus BEVs unique
18:51 BEV Concierges connect with buyers
24:32 Bangkok Motor Show, featuring RZ unveiling