It’s not the first time that the Lexus division has shown its adventurous side with a concept designed to explore unfamiliar territory. At the Tokyo Auto Show, an exhibition not to be confused with the Tokyo Motor Show, Lexus actually showed a slightly modified livery of its massive LX.
However, Toyota’s luxurious penchant had other plans for this automotive meeting dedicated to performance and all its derivatives. The Lexus NX PHEV OFFROAD concept – essentially a plug-in hybrid version of the new NX prepared for more rugged off-road use – was accompanied by a hydrogen-powered ATV, reigniting the debate on the potential of this alternative energy.
The NX 450h+ compact crossover gets a slightly more aggressive fascia with a matte black grille. The most distinctive element of this transformed crossover is without a doubt those specific 17-inch wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich off-road tires. The bodywork is not to be outdone with an Oxidized Steel color, while the door handles are painted in matte black. On the roof, the bars and the cargo basket have also been painted with this matte black treatment.
While this slight makeover demonstrates the potential of the new Lexus SUV, it’s the ATV that gets most of the attention, because beyond the visual changes of the NX 450h+, the plug-in hybrid powertrain remains unchanged.
The ROV (Recreational Offroad Highway Vehicle), which is powered by compressed hydrogen, does not use an electric motor as is the case with the Toyota Mirai, for example. Instead, the brand’s engineers integrated a small 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine to burn the precious fuel, which has the advantage of offering a more traditional driving experience with the vibrations and sound of a thermal engine without the harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Lexus claims that oil consumption is very low, which means that CO2 emissions are kept to a minimum.
It will be interesting to see how Toyota or Lexus applies this hydrogen technology as an energy source for an internal combustion engine in the future. If the two divisions can come up with a viable solution, hydrogen could in principle join electricity in powering our vehicles of the future.