Hybrid Technology


Enter the Age of the PERFORMANCE HYBRID

The revolution of our time has necessitated a new age of thought. Growing concerns over the economy and environment have motivated the world to change its course. Lexus has contributed to this global discourse by ushering in advanced hybrid technology. Truly sustainable transport, without any compromise on performance and luxury, is available.

The technology of Lexus Hybrid Drive (LHD) harnesses the tension between traditional opposites: performance and conscience; past and present. Combining both electric energy and petrol performance Lexus presents the first ever PERFORMANCE HYBRID, which maximises power and efficiency while significantly reducing noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) and emissions.

Traditionally hybrid engineers have focused exclusively on economy, at the expense of performance, for the sake of the environment. Lexus however, have devised a solution: an electric motor that reduces CO2 emissions and enhances the performance of its complimentary petrol engine. The petrol engine in hybrid drive vehicles works with the electric motor to give a smoother and quieter ride, better performance, decreased emissions and improved fuel economy.

Self-Sustaining System

What’s more, the system is entirely self-sustaining. Lexus hybrids never need to be plugged in as regenerative braking charges the electric motor, while the Power Control Unit distributes the energy for maximum efficiency of both the electric motor and the petrol engine. Any excess is then stored in the advanced compact battery, which is designed to last as long as the vehicle itself.

While fuel prices continue to rise and the environment increasingly becomes a global concern, Lexus Hybrid is not just in vogue, but is the luxury vehicle of the future.

Lexus Hybrid Drive

Unlike other hybrids, the Lexus Hybrid Drive is a complete hybrid: making use of all six hybrid technologies to enhance its performance while offering the same benefits typical to that of other hybrid vehicles.

Electric Motor

The electric motor is a highly compact permanent magnet type, which allows for maximum torque to be reached instantly when the vehicle is started, and makes almost no sound. The water and oil cooled, AC synchronous motor accelerates powerfully from pull-off and adds an impressive 275 Nm of torque and 147 kW of power to the GS450h petrol engine when at full throttle, significantly improving the performance without increasing the fuel consumption.

The motor also functions as a second generator by capturing heat energy created during deceleration and converting it into electric energy to be stored in the high performance battery. The ingenious motor requires a current of 650V to run, which it is allocated by the Power Control Unit.

V6 Petrol Engine

The GS450h V6 petrol engine makes use of advanced direct-injection technology with a high compression ratio to provide 218 kW of power at 6 400 rpm. The Variable Valve Timing-intelligent (VVT-i) technology – an advanced variable intake and exhaust valve timing system - ensures that the maximum power is reached with economic consumption of fuel and reduced carbon emissions. Maximum torque produced by the petrol engine is 368 Nm at 4 800 rpm.

Hybrid Transmission

The Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT) does not function like a normal automatic where shift-shock is felt when gears change. Rather, the E-CVT ensures that there is a smooth transition between the electric motor and petrol engine, while optimising the performance of both. Thus, increased speed is not hindered by the interruption of lower gears moving into higher gears.

Power Control Unit

Said to be the brain of the hybrid drive, the Power Control Unit (PCU) allocates the power resources of the vehicle to the various components of the Lexus Hybrid Drive. As the vehicle’s speed and torque increases, the PCU will switch on the V6 petrol engine and run it with its supplement – the electric motor. When the vehicle becomes stationary again or reduces speed for inner-city traffic, it will switch the petrol engine off again so that no fuel is burned and no carbon emissions created.

The PCU also ensures that excess energy is not lost by allocating it to be stored in the Hybrid Battery.

Electric Drive Generator

Like the electric motor, the generator is a water and oil cooled permanent magnet type that converts surplus power from the engine into electricity. The device splits the power so that the V6 engine doesn’t only propel the wheels but provides electricity to be allocated by the PCU for either use in the electric motor or compact battery. The 650V generator starts the petrol engine when the vehicle’s speed increases.

Hybrid Battery

The advanced compact battery stores electricity created by the Lexus Hybrid Drive system until it is required. The 288V nickel-metal hydride compact battery is designed to last as long as the vehicle and does not require any external or supplementary charging – this is taken care of by the generator and regenerative braking process.



Combining the efforts of both an electric motor and petrol engine, the Lexus Hybrid Drive takes a V6 and plays it like a V8. The electric motor responds instantly to the throttle from standstill, while the petrol engine carries this gratifying response time through to the top end, merging their acceleration power.

When a high enough speed has been achieved, the Power Control Unit will allocate power to the petrol engine. The Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission will ensure that there is no vibration or shock when the petrol engine takes over, while the electric motor continues to support the V6 engine.

The power of the Hybrid is superior to that of turbo charge as there is no opportunity for turbo-lag. The Hybrid ensures that the maximum power of the vehicle is instantly accessible at all times.



The Lexus Hybrid range produces 70% fewer smog-forming emissions than the average new vehicle and a reduced CO2 output on the GS450h is as little as 185 g/km. In addition to that, the nitrogen oxide (NO) and hydrocarbon (HC) levels have been reduced to almost zero.

While the vehicle is stationary or running at low speeds, the Power Control Unit switches off the petrol engine making the impressive electric motor do all the work. No emissions are created or released when the petrol engine is off. The petrol engine in the hybrid vehicle can thus be smaller than non-hybrid vehicles and still produce the same performance without impact on the environment.

The vehicle also does not require any external source of energy to charge the electric motor or the high performance battery - further reducing emissions that would have been created during charging.

Lexus Hybrid vehicles also conserve natural resources in other ways. The vehicles incorporate recyclable or high-recovery materials in the interior and on the exterior, and are built of high-quality lightweight products, which improve fuel efficiency and require fewer natural resources to construct.

The door trims are made of kenaf (of the hibiscus family) instead of woodchips. Recycled bumpers are used to make trim for the luggage compartment and recycled, shredded sun-proofing material is used to insulate the dashboard from behind, for quietness.



The dual electric motor and petrol engine of the Lexus Hybrid Drive ensure that less fuel is consumed during driving. The electric engine runs the vehicle at lower speeds and assists the petrol engine when accelerating, which means the petrol engine consumes less in these situations.

The 3.5-litre V6 RX450h does an impressive 6.3 litres to 100 km while the GS450h’s 3.5-litre V6 does 7.9 litres to 100 km, because the PCU switches off the petrol engine when the vehicle is stationary, so the vehicles rely more on electricity than on fuel.

While the petrol consumption of a Lexus Hybrid is less than the average vehicle, there are factors that affect your vehicle’s fuel economy. To help you achieve better economy with Hybrid try:

Accelerating slowly.

Avoiding heavy braking.

When doing errands, travel to the furthest location first to warm up the catalytic converter (once this is warm the engine is used less).

Combine short trips to reduce the amount of cold starts.

Maintain the correct tyre pressure.

Use premium octane fuel (95 or higher).

The Hybrid range of vehicles comes with a Multi-Information Display which shows the flow of energy and fuel consumption of the vehicle. Use this to adjust your driving style and habits for better fuel economy.



As Lexus Hybrids start up and run at lower speeds using the electric motor, the noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) experienced in the vehicle is minimal when compared to that experienced in other conventional vehicles. When the petrol engine is on, the Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT) eliminates the noise level of shifting gears.

The engine mounts were moved up to reduce vibrations and the intake system was completely redesigned on the GS hybrid to improve the quietness of the vehicle. The Electric Power Steering also contributes by eliminating the hydraulic pump associated with steering. Even the low-durometer, laminated windshield and insulated body panels absorb engine, wind and road noise.

The aerodynamics of the vehicles also testifies to Lexus engineers’ concern for noise levels, as the shape of the vehicle not only enhances its speed, but reduces noise levels as well.


How and when does a hybrid vehicle switch from petrol to electricity?

Lexus Hybrid Drive System switches automatically to electric, or a combination of the two power sources, dependent on load requirements. The Power Control Unit switches on the Petrol Engine when it is required and allocates power to it according to its needs. When increased acceleration is required, both the petrol engine and electric motor are used.

Is the acceleration of a Lexus Hybrid responsive or sluggish?

The two motors work together to give you optimum speed and power. The electric motor provides most of its torque at low speeds while the petrol engine offers all the power at medium and higher speeds.

How long will Lexus make Hybrids?

Lexus will continue to invest in hybrid technology, as it offers the greatest vehicle advancement in terms of performance and economy. Once our customers experience the power, fuel economy, reduced emissions, versatility, convenience and the luxury of a hybrid, there will be no turning back.

Where are Hybrid vehicles built?

All Lexus Hybrid vehicles are built in Japan.

How long does the hybrid battery last/stay charged?

The hybrid battery has a warranty of 4 years/100 000 km; whichever one comes first. Usually the battery will last longer than the length of the warranty.

Do you have to charge or plug in a Lexus Hybrid?

No, you don’t. The Lexus Hybrid Drive technology automatically recharges its battery. It does this by using regenerative braking and by running the engine to generate electricity.

How fuel efficient are Lexus Hybrid vehicles?

Estimated fuel consumption of the RX450h is 6.3/100 km and the GS450h is capable of delivering 7.91/100 km.

What are the characteristics of a Hybrid all-wheel drive vehicle?

In the RX450h, power at the front axle is supplied by the Hybrid system, and power to the rear axle is generated by a separate 50 kW electric motor.

What are the characteristics of a Hybrid engine?

A Hybrid engine runs on two different sources of power; an electric motor and a petrol engine. The electric motor helps to conserve energy, while the petrol engine provides the power that the vehicle requires.

Is the Lexus Hybrid better than its competitors?

Based on recent announcements, we can safely say that the Lexus Hybrid is the most powerful hybrid available, and the first with a luxury SUV. Another point to remember is that the Lexus Hybrid Drive system allows electric-only operation under low-speed and stop-and-go conditions for maximum efficiency.

What are the additional hybrid functions?

With a Split Parallel/Series Hybrid System, the transmission functions as an electronic continuously variable transmission and the electric motor assists the internal combustion engine so this type of hybrid vehicle achieves smooth acceleration and deceleration, as well as excellent response.

What are the characteristics of a Hybrid All-Wheel Drive vehicle?

With the Lexus Hybrid Drive AWD system, there is no driveshaft connecting the front and rear axles. Power at the front axle is supplied by the split parallel/series hybrid system, and power to the rear axle is generated by a separate 50 kW electric motor.