Lexus will skip from building hybrid cars to making pure electric and fuel cell cars, choosing not to bother with plug-in hybrids.

Confirmation that Lexus won’t build plug-in hybrids came from Lexus Europe chief Alian Uyttenhoven during a recent interview with AutoExpress. He said that plug-in hybrids are simply “loophole” cars that are made to help automakers meet corporate emissions regulations and that Lexus won’t need plug-ins to do this. The hybrid vehicles it offers aren’t efficient enough to help it meet increasingly strict fuel economy standards, however, so it will have to introduce pure electric cars and fuel-cell vehicles eventually.

“Soon we will have to reach 75g/km,” he told AE. “At that time pure hybrids will not be sufficient. The two things we can do are introduce plug-in or introduce electric.”

The first Lexus EV won’t be a super expensive, range-topping model. The automaker thinks the heft of consumers that may be interested in an electric car from a premium brand will shop in a lower price bracket.

“In Europe, the more successful electric car sales are at the high end,” Uyttenhoven said. “But in the premium market, 50 per cent of cars are sold below 40,000 Euros. If it’s more than that, how will people afford it?”

For the time being, Lexus will remain committed to hybrids. The automaker recently launched the new LS full-size sedan, which has spawned a hybrid LS500h model. The hybrid four-door uses a similar powertrain to the LC500h – consisting of a 3.5-liter V6 and two electric motors with a total system output of 354 horsepower.

Auto Express

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