In March of last year, I got out at the international motor show in Geneva (thanks to the editor-in-chief, it was one of the best trips), where once again convinced that we do not even suspect how much of the technology used in modern cars is the total length of wires in the car sometimes reaches 5 km! Some Ford Bronco from 1990, the year with the lack of electrically adjustable passenger glass now sighed.
The greatest interest now, of course, represent the electric vehicles with hybrid power plants. But if Tesla and its competitors, which can be on the fingers of one hand count, all clear (the more batteries will push, the longer the car will drive), then the hybrids are all more interesting — the producers do not cease to compete, trying to create a powerful hybrid, so the driver can use the electric motor as a full replacement for the internal combustion engine. And, by the way, they do it: this summer we tested a new compact crossover Lexus UX, which can travel up to 100 miles on a single electric motor — in case you suddenly run out of gasoline. And Yes, the electric motor is recharged on the go by yourself and not from the outlet.
How does the hybrid engine
The main problem of modern electric cars is the need for a long battery charging, being directly near the outlet. So at the moment there are systems recharge the car through the regenerative braking system. In General, the hybrid scheme was patented in 1905 by the German Henry Pieper. All modern hybrids are equipped with powerful motor which helps the internal combustion engine when accelerating, and when braking, stores regenerative energy. As for transmission, typically uses a CVT. But in the same Lexus, for example, another system. Thanks to the planetary transmission occurs synergy — the interaction of combustion engine and electric motor. In this case, the engine turns the wheels paired with an electric motor, while rotating the generator. In traditional transmission, there is no need: electronics regulates the speed of the motors and generator, transforming this system in a continuously variable transmission ECVT.
But the Lexus UX, which we managed to test the main thing — not a hybrid powerplant and a hybrid powertrain. The point is that there are no couplings or universal joints: on the rear axle is your motor. And if the torque on the front wheels is not enough or they start to slip, connects back electric.
Hybrid installation UX 250h is a petrol engine which is combined with two electric motor-generators (MG1 and MG2) mounted in parallel. The overall efficiency of such power plant is almost 180 horsepower. The only negative — can not be forced to go to one electric, on-Board computer decides when to use the battery. At speeds above 115 km/h running only petrol installation.
A little about the car
Based on the design of the Lexus UX – new platform GA-C, which provided crossover ultra-low center of gravity, high body rigidity and excellent handling. A hybrid would be with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive transmission E-Four. Good maneuverability of the car make and dimensions — turn radius UX is 5.2 m.
The driver has the ability to control all functions of the car from his seat. In addition, due to thin lining the a-pillars and low dashboard creates sensations similar to those that arise rather in the management of a hatchback than a crossover or SUV.
The machine is equipped with a new version of the complex of active safety systems, including the collision avoidance systems that can detect pedestrians in the dark. In light of the time of day the system pays particular attention to cyclists who often go unnoticed on the roads and therefore get in an accident.
In addition, UX has a system of automatic switching beam in the middle and offers intelligent support when Parking, which will automatically slow down when not too successful Parking maneuvers. Vehicle independently estimates the risk of collision with stationary objects, and monitors the approach of other vehicles. At the slightest danger of collision, the car will brake and notify the driver via visual and audio signals, helping to reduce the risk of collision or reduce its consequences.
But I liked the projected display. This is not new in the automotive industry, but it is in the UX display is implemented as comfortably as possible. While driving you do not look at the dashboard — only on the road and head up display.
The only negative is the size of the trunk. It is not so large that you were carrying in it the potatoes from the garden (although one bag would fit), but two suitcases will fit without problems. But more space in the backseat is a photographer who traveled with us, did not feel discomfort when landing behind me (with the growth both almost 190 cm).
Way to go!
The route was selected tricky. I would not only get Lexus NX from Lausanne to Stresa (Italy), but also to test the capabilities of the compact crossover in different conditions and on different road surfaces to drive through the small towns of Switzerland (the speed limit without violating traffic regulations, and here it is possible to go broke) out on the highway, turn onto mountain road on the way to Chamonix (France) to climb to a height of nearly 4,000 metres. In the latter case, however, still had to take the lift and leave the car at the foot of Mont Blanc.
UX Lexus 250h — top range, where there are all the gadgets for comfortable driving, which I described above: the led headlamps with a single lens, LDA colour monitor on the centre console, the touchpad Remote-Touch, water-repellent coating glass front doors, and the intelligent access system in the car and starting the engine by pressing the button.
A serious challenge for the UX became serpentine. I was sure that because of its off-road orientation it will behave on the road a little better than the popular “SUV”. But no, the car showed the handling is not worse than the hatchback, than I was surprised.
With the exterior and interior of the car can see anyone, we set ourselves another goal is to test dynamics of the new UX. And it should be noted, that even the most simple configuration will be enough for comfortable city driving. Where you want to be quicker — it will accelerate, but should not expect miracles. This is a great option for the city, where, as a rule, the more you stand in traffic jams than moving forward (it was particularly noticeable on the narrow roads in Chamonix). And in this case absolutely no difference how many seconds the car sprints to “hundred” in the first place appreciate a smooth ride, comfort and economy (with Eco driving mode to make it even easier).
Yes, at sharp overtaking on the freeway lacked the “flavor” inherent in models with a capacity the power unit above 200 HP, but such situations are extremely rare. Well, plus there is a driving mode Sport+, with the shift between gears become much longer, which positively affects the acceleration. While the comfort is again not reflected — so that’s the phenomenon from Lexus. All the way from Chamonix to Stresa we have done on this mode (forgive us, the organizers) and was incredibly surprised by the dynamics of the car.
In urban environments this smooth “boat” feels more than confident. The car is configured in such a way that all systems working in symbiosis, ensure a comfortable and safe driving, even at significant potential under the hood. Be it the track or the descent to the lake Maggiore.
Hybrid or gasoline?
A little more than 6 hours it took us to overcome the route “Lausanne — Chamonix — Stresa” (with all stops), but this time was enough for me to completely changed their attitude to hybrid propulsion. This is a great option for the metropolis (no wonder the Lexus UX is called the “urban Explorer”), and if there is a desire to go with him on the freeway, a hybrid does not disappoint, the stock power of it is good. Yes, and fuel consumption pleasantly surprised: we got a little more than 4 liters per 100 kilometers, and this despite the fact that sometimes I wanted and “slipper” press, and on mountain roads to ride, where dynamics are especially important.