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September 20, 2023

The Yoke's No Joke For Lexus: Steer-By-Wire, Direct4 To Form Core Of Future Lexus Driving Signature

When Lexus debuted the all-electric RZ, it was supposed to offer a yoke steering wheel as an option. Unfortunately for those who want to emulate a bit of Elon Musk, a year or so into serial production, there’s still no sign of the unique wheel setup. But don’t worry: Lexus is still committed to it.

As a refresher, this steer-by-wire allows Lexus to change its steering ratio on the fly making it a much better system than the one found on several Teslas. Since then, the prototype version still had drivers doing some hand-over-hand maneuvers—something Lexus engineers want to eliminate. Their solution is to give more turns—200 degrees versus 150 degrees. They’ve also moved the lights and wiper controls to the wheel itself as opposed to having it behind the wheel.

Interestingly, Lexus has opted to remove any mechanical connection with the front wheels altogether. Still, there are a number of redundancies in place like having an extra battery located below the center console that powers the steering system even when the primary battery goes flat.

More fine-tuning will be done to the system, but Lexus says they are targeting a market launch by 2024. And yes, it will also make its way to more models apart from the Lexus RZ.

Lexus’ continued development of the steer-by-wire system (as well as its Direct4 all-wheel drive system) will form part of their commitment to provide environmentally-conscious vehicles that still offer the Lexus Driving Signature.

By 2026, Lexus will introduce a next-generation battery electric vehicle with a revolutionary modular vehicle platform. It will use a completely renewed software platform and will be produced using a drastically changed production method. A concept model using this new platform and manufacturing process, will be unveiled at the Japan Mobility Show.

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