OPEN ROAD – March & April 2022, Issue 79



Lexus has unveiled a new concept vehicle aimed at offering a luxury lifestyle experience to drivers who are keen to discover the wilderness in style. The ROV (Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle) is powered by the first Lexus hydro gen engine designed to combine the fun of off-road driving with, accord ing to the car company, “a commitment to ensure exhilarating driving can co-exist with a carbon-free society centred on responsible mobility”. One of the design team’s main objectives was “to develop a vehicle that would look good in all kinds of natural environments”. To that end, they used Lexus’ “human centred” philosophy to create the kind of vehicle people would expect from a luxury carmaker but without losing the rugged per formance of an ROV and the key hallmarks of an off-road vehicle – with its exposed suspension, protective cage and chunky off-road tyres for driving along muddy tracks. They designed a body that could protect passengers, incorporate the Lexus signature grille and preserve enough travel for the front suspension, while the front fenders were also conceived to offer protection against any stray rocks and mud. Connected to the rear hydrogen fuel tank, the suspension cover protects functional parts as well as conveying a sense of durability inherited from Lexus SUVs. The dark bronze paint has been carefully crafted, and the “L”-motif front and rear lights and the rear LEXUS badge are incorporated “to express the latest Lexus design language”. The ROV is equipped with a simple meter, based on the Tazuna concept, that instantly reads information the driver needs while being able to focus on their driving.

Luxury details include a leather steering wheel and a sculpted shift knob, as well as seats that feature suspension elements aimed at smoothing bumps out of the ride and which are upholstered in hard-wearing synthetic leather. The first Lexus hydrogen ICE meets all the carmaker’s stringent requirements for QDR (Quietness, Durability, Reliability). “This ROV concept embodies the exciting sound of an ICE and the responsive rise in torque that comes from the fast combustion speed of hydrogen, which Lexus believes is highly com patible with the ROV. This hydrogen-powered ROV concept is the result of Lexus’ desire to preserve true off-road pleasure in tomorrow’s low carbon society.” The 1.0-litre hydrogen engine is said to work just like a petrol engine, but with a high-pressure tank for compressed hydrogen which is delivered precisely by a direct hydrogen injector. “Importantly, Lexus’ new hydrogen engine pro duces close to zero emissions, with a negligible amount of engine oil burned during driving.” A lightweight body composed of a strong pipe frame and suspension en ables the driver to enjoy the car’s natural movements, the distinctive “Lexus Driving Signature”, and dynamic and comfortable off-road capability. As Spiros Fotinos, head of Lexus Europe, notes, “The Lexus ROV is our response to the growing passion for the outdoors and adventurous spirit of luxury con sumers. As a concept, it fuses our desire to also develop lifestyle-oriented products with our ongoing research into new technologies that contribute to carbon neutrality. As well as delivering a concept that is thrilling to drive, it has near zero emissions thanks to its hydrogen powered engine.”

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