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Lexus now has a range of hybrid luxury cars for those who are environmentally-conscious, but refuse to compromise on comfort and luxury

29 Apr 2011


With the recent high COE prices showing little signs of abating, it appears that premium and luxury cars will dominate the local car scene for the considerable future. After all, if you're paying over 50 grand for the 'right' to drive a car, you might as well make the most of it and buy something to indulge yourself.

There is most certainly no shortage of choices in Singapore should you opt for a premium car, but what if you have a leaning towards saving the environment as well?

At the moment, the best solution for 'green' driving appears to be hybrid cars, with the Toyota Prius the most notable hybrid car of them all. However, if you want an upmarket hybrid car, the choice appears rather limited.

That said, hybrids are becoming increasingly commonplace within the car industry, with even the likes of Porsche looking into hybrids to power their future models. But the leader of hybrid technology remains the pioneers who started it all, Toyota.

And so, inevitably, hybrid technology has also found its way into Toyota's luxury brand, Lexus. With a series of hybrid models in its range now, Lexus are arguably the class-leader in luxury hybrids.

Features of a hybrid-powered car

Before we delve into why a hybrid Lexus would be a good choice, let's first go back to the basics, and find out more about hybrid cars in general.

A hybrid vehicle is simply one where there are two or more power sources driving the car. The most common system is one whereby a normal petrol or diesel engine is combined with an electric motor.

Even with that though, there are different types of hybrids. The main difference is how much power each component provides for propulsion for the car. In general however, there are two types, Mild Hybrids and Full Hybrids.

Mild Hybrids depend on just one source for full propulsion, be it the standard engine or the electric motor, with the other only serving to assist when needed. Full Hybrids on the other hand, allows for both the electric motor and petrol engine to operate independently, or combine together when extra power is needed.

All of Toyota's and Lexus' hybrid models are Full Hybrids, which means that the cars are able to run on the electric motor itself at low speeds, which reduces fuel consumption and emissions.

Lexus Hybrid Drive systems consists of five major components: the engine, the Power Control Unit (PCU), which acts as the 'brain' of the system and determines the most efficient combination to use, the electric motor, the battery which provides power to the electric motor, and the transmission.

Why choose a hybrid car?

Well, most certainly, if you're conscious about emissions, fuel efficiency and saving the environment, then hybrid cars will definitely appeal to you.

Hybrid cars generally offer better fuel efficiency than their standard petrol-powered equivalent, as they have an electric motor to take the load off the main engine. At low speeds, Full Hybrids can run on the electric motor only, as the petrol engine isn't in use at all. In Singapore's urban environment, this feature will most likely be greatly utilised, resulting in significant savings in your fuel bill.

In addition, with the petrol engine not in use, no emissions are being emitted, leading to less pollution to the environment, and cleaner air for all. If you opt for a luxury hybrid model, you could potentially maximise your reduction in pollution, as luxury cars are generally deemed as more pollutive due to their size. In other words by driving a luxury hybrid, you make a bigger impact in reducing emissions and pollution to the environment.

Why a Lexus Hybrid?

Having talked about the benefits of hybrid cars in general, let's now look at why Lexus are the choice for luxury hybrids.

Lexus Hybrid Drive is the culmination of forty years of intensive research and development, and they are most certainly the leaders in hybrid development technology.

All Lexus hybrids have Lexus' patented and specially-developed Electrical Control Unit (ECU), which is unique and cannot be reverse-engineered. The ECU controls the engine, the electric motor, the power-inverter and the battery, and makes them all come together seamlessly for a smooth driving experience.

Lexus has also invested its research and development into making its hybrid systems adaptable, by reducing the size and weight of the major components. And so the system can now be applied to cars of all sizes, drive types (be it front, rear or four-wheel-drive) and engine types (whether a four-cylinder, V6 or V8).

Lexus now offers a range of hybrid-powered vehicles to suit every style of luxury. For those seeking an entry-level Lexus model, there is now the CT200h, which is Lexus' first premium compact car. Additionally, the CT200h is the only hybrid in its stable that has been fully developed purely as a hybrid model on sale in Singapore, making it an ideal choice for the young and environmentally conscious audience without sacrificing the marque's superior qualities.

Those with a sporting slant might opt for the GS450h Hybrid sedan, which offers tremendous power, with its 3.5-litre V6 producing an impressive 292bhp on its own. Combined with the Lexus Hybrid Drive system, the GS450h churns out an astonishing 339bhp in total.

If you lean towards utmost luxury, the Lexus LS600h Hybrid offers the best choice in luxurious indulgence. Its 5.0-litre V8 engine is the first V8 to be combined with an all-wheel-drive hybrid system, offering the ultimate in comfort and performance.

There is even a Lexus hybrid for off-road enthusiasts, with the Lexus RX450h. This gives drivers all the advantages of SUV driving, like a high driving position, without the drawbacks typical of driving such a vehicle, such as poor efficiency.

With such an impressive range of luxurious hybrid vehicles, Lexus is most certainly at the forefront of luxury hybrid technology. One can most certainly be environmentally-conscious, yet not compromise on luxury, with Lexus Hybrid Drive.

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