Japanese premium carmaker Lexus has recently unveiled its DIRECT4 electric drive technology in a lengthy video. The system offers instant electric control to all four wheels while altering the torque feed to deliver instantaneous response and better handling in various driving conditions.
“DIRECT4 stands for DIRECT4 Wheel Drive Force Control, and it allows us to change vehicle movements by independently controlling motor torque of the four wheels at will,” said Takashi Watanabe, Chief Engineer, Lexus Electrified. “At Lexus, we want to use electrification and related technologies to create vehicles that elevate the original potential of the car.”
We first saw a glimpse of the ‘Lexus Electrified’ vision at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, when Lexus unveiled its striking LF-30 Electrified Concept car with fancy gullwing doors and a canopy-like windshield. Similar to how it looks, the LF-30 Concept works unlike any production EV to date.
The concept has four in-wheel electric motors, providing an early glimpse of Lexus’ DIRECT4 EV drive technology. It offers the freedom to switch between FWD, AWD, and RWD automatically or at the driver’s behest, dramatically improving the vehicle’s ‘Lexus Driving Signature.’
“In addition, we’d like to involve the Lexus DNA of comfort, and the creation of a relaxing environment that evokes a sense of confidence,” added Watanabe.
Surprisingly, Lexus’ DIRECT4 electrified driving tech is not meant exclusively for all-electric vehicles. “DIRECT4 is not just limited to EVs,” said Watanabe. “For hybrids, we can use an electronic axle or e-Axle for the rear. With this, the front and rear can now produce electric driving force, and that is how we can apply DIRECT4 to hybrids.”
Additionally, the motors are directly connected to the wheels by a single driveshaft to operate without delay. The system responds instantly to steering, braking, and acceleration forces to deliver better handling or unprecedented straight-line comfort when you need it most.
Current electric vehicles have single, dual, or triple electric motors, but none utilize direct-drive, in-wheel electric motors like Lexus’ LF-30 concept. Futurists refer to hub motors as the natural evolution of EV propulsion, and Lexus remains at the forefront of it all.
However, you’ll have to wait a bit longer to experience the beauty of Lexus’ DRIVE4 technology, but the brand intends to have electrified versions of all Lexus models by 2025. The video also offers a glimpse of a new Lexus concept car to be unveiled in early 2021, which is most likely an all-electric and/or PHEV crossover SUV – hopefully, equipped with DIRECT4.