2020 Lexus UX 300e has an air-cooled battery pack

The 2020 Lexus UX 300e is the brand's first-ever all-electric vehicle. But unlike modern EVs from Tesla, Jaguar, or BMW, the UX 300e is fitted with an air-cooled battery pack. Mind you, air-cooled battery packs were deployed in early models of the Nissan Leaf, but Lexus is taking it further by giving the battery pack a standard 10-year/million-kilometer warranty.

Based on the existing Lexus UX, the UX 300e is equipped with a 54.3 kWh battery pack. Meanwhile, the charging capacity is rated at 6.6 kW (AC) and up to 50 kW using a DC fast charger.

According to Lexus, the range is at 248 miles or roughly 400 kilometers based on the NEDC cycle. Honestly, the range is acceptable given the air-cooled nature of the battery pack. But compared to sophisticated liquid cooling systems, air cooling is not as efficient nor as safe for high-voltage electric vehicles, particularly in hotter climates.

And that's not all. Liquid-cooling is better at protecting the battery from degradation and is the reason why we're mightily impressed with the 10-years/million-kilometer warranty of Lexus' battery pack. Lexus claims the battery cell air-cooling system in the UX 300e is lighter and safer than water-cooled battery packs. The system also works with the vehicle's air-conditioning to enhance vehicle performance, charging capacity, and battery life.

Moreover, the battery pack is also equipped with heating elements under each battery module to minimize the impact of icy weather on the battery cells. Marginally heating the batteries ensures sufficient voltage is fed to the electric motor to offer full power from the get-go, even in harsh winter climates.

The 2020 Lexus UX 300e recently debuted in China while the first European deliveries are expected to arrive in June 2020. Apparently, the UX 300e will also arrive in Japan by 2021. However, it won't be arriving here in North America. The Lexus UX 300e starts at around $45,000 in Europe and the equivalent of $54,000 in China before tax incentives.

For now, it's hard to say how Lexus' air-cooled battery pack will hold up against its liquid-cooled competitors, especially if Toyota or Lexus is planning to ramp up the DC fast-charging capabilities of the UX 300e and other electric vehicles in its stable.