Automotive industry

The future of the automotive industry: Electric or electrified?

This article is written by Naveen Soni, President, Lexus India
It is heartening to see the electric revolution gaining momentum in India. Government policies such as the Faster Adoption and Manufacture of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME), which provide subsidies for electric vehicle production and charging infrastructure, are steps in the right direction. . The number of EVs on the road is growing with more and more OEMs entering the EV mobility space.
However, current EV sales represent less than 1% of total vehicle sales in India, compared to a global figure of 2-3%. According to a report on electric vehicles by Lux Research, sales of electric vehicles are expected to exceed sales of ICE vehicles between 2035 and 2040. This prediction naturally depends on changing customer preferences, technological developments and policy measures. As optimistic as one would like to be, in India at least, we are seven to ten years away from electric vehicles making a dent in ICE sales.

Although the benefits of an electric vehicle for the environment and consumers are undeniable, it is important to understand the different types of environmentally friendly vehicles available on the market. Let’s start with Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) or what are more commonly referred to as Electric Vehicles because everything is powered by a battery. Then come the plug-ins Hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), which have a smaller battery than Electric hybrid Vehicles (HEV) but can run on battery or fuel. Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) or hybrids as they are called, are gas-powered cars with a small battery and an electric motor inside and can run on battery or fuel.
And finally we have Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) which run primarily on hydrogen as the fuel which combines with oxygen in the air and the resulting energy produced by such a chemical reaction is stored in the battery inside the vehicle that powers the vehicle. All of the above four vehicle types are collectively referred to as electrified vehicles which have varying degrees of electrification.

lexus hybrid powertrain

Hybrid drivetrains combine the best of ICE and electric motors and Lexus has been more prolific than any other luxury car maker when it comes to hybrids or self-charging hybrid electric vehicles, as we like to call them. Lexus’ history with hybrid vehicles dates back to 2005, when the company introduced its first hybrid, the RX 400h. It was the world’s first luxury car to combine a high-performance gasoline engine with a powerful electric motor and a self-charging battery.
The trade-off between power and efficiency was not an issue with Lexus hybrid Drive, a gas-electric “full hybrid” combination, which is at the heart of all current Lexus luxury hybrids electric car.
Another significant advantage of HEVs over PHEVs and BEVs is that HEVs do not need to be plugged in to charge the battery.
A full hybrid system like the Lexus Hybrid Drive has two power sources – a battery-powered electric motor and a gasoline-powered combustion engine – that are entirely separate from each other. Either can power the car on its own, or the power of both units can be combined. The ‘intelligence’ of the system ensures that when the gasoline engine is running, it drives the generator to charge the battery.

In urban environments at low speeds, the generator cuts the petrol engine and lets the electric motor take over. This means the car can run with zero emissions. According to tests carried out by government agencies in Indian driving conditions, hybrid electric vehicles drive more than 60% of the time and 40% of the distance as pure battery electric vehicles.
Lexus Hybrid Drive is derived from its parent company Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive technology. The hybrid system has sold more than 19 million units worldwide, up to April 2022, since its launch in Japan in August 1997. Even Lexus has sold more than 2.3 million hybrid electric vehicles.
Lexus Electrified is the new name for the continued evolution of the electrification strategy that Lexus first launched in 2005 with Lexus Hybrid Drive. Globally, Lexus aims to achieve 100% BEV sales by 2035 and unlock the full potential of Lexus engineering.
The future is electric and bright; however, it may be prudent for the industry and society as a whole to see hybrids as a bridge to that bright future.