The 2023 Lexus RZ 450e electric crossover is beginning to arrive in the U.S., but without the yoke and steer-by-wire system previously shown. Both will be offered in the U.S. at a later, unspecified date, Lexus confirmed to Green Car Reports over the weekend.
At launch, the RZ 450e will be sold only with a conventional rack-and-pinion steering with electric assist, the same hardware used in the related 2023 Toyota bZ4X. It’s connected to a conventional steering wheel rather than the open-top, flat-bottomed unit with the steer-by-wire system.
Not being round, this alternative isn’t really a steering wheel, but Lexus won’t call it a yoke, the automaker confirmed to Green Car Reports. It doesn’t have name, however, or specific pricing. Launch timing for the steer-by-wire system, which will be offered alongside the conventional steering system and steering wheel, hasn’t been priced yet either.
2023 Lexus RZ 450e
The system also reportedly won’t be called One Motion Grip, or OMG, as it is in Europe, where the system is planned to launch as an option in the 2025 model year.
Steer-by-wire can be equipped with a conventional steering wheel as well. It’s currently undergoing iterative testing, after which it’s expected to be used in subsequent Lexus models.
“Steer-by-wire is one of the core technologies for Lexus moving forward,” assistant chief engineer Yushi Highashiyama said in an interview with Green Car Reports, through a translator. He said an update to steering is needed to match improvements that have already been made in acceleration and braking.
2023 Lexus RZ
Lexus isn’t the only automaker to experiment with new steering systems in electric vehicles. Tesla introduced a steering yoke on the Model S and Model X, then bowed to customer complaints and brought back conventional steering wheels as a no-cost option earlier this year. The Lexus system differs from Tesla’s, including being able to only turn 150 degrees lock-to-lock.
The RZ itself is sized like the Lexus NX compact crossover, but with a wheelbase closer to the larger Lexus RX. It uses a 71.4-kwh battery pack to supply one electric motor for standard all-wheel drive, and a combined output of 313 hp. That enables a 0-62 mph time of 5.3 seconds, according to Lexus, but EPA range and efficiency ratings have not been published yet.