Last March, I got to the InternationalGeneva Motor Show (thanks to the editor-in-chief, it was one of the best trips), where he was once again convinced that we don’t even suspect how many technologies are used in modern cars - sometimes the total length of wires in a car reaches 5 kilometers! Some Ford Bronco from 1990, with the lack of electric adjustment of passenger windows, now sighed heavily.
The greatest interest now, of course, iselectric cars and cars with hybrid power plants. But if with Tesla and its competitors, which can be counted on the fingers of one hand, everything is clear (the more batteries you push, the longer the car will travel), then with hybrids it’s more and more interesting - manufacturers do not stop competing, trying to create a powerful hybrid so that the driver can use an electric motor as a complete replacement for an internal combustion engine. And by the way, they succeed: this summer we tested the new compact Lexus UX crossover, with which you can drive up to 100 kilometers on an electric motor alone - in case gas suddenly runs out. And yes, the electric motor is charged on the go on its own, and not from the outlet.
- 1 How the hybrid engine works
- 2 A little about the car
- 3 Go!
- 4 Hybrid or gasoline?
How does a hybrid engine work?
The main problem of modern electricalcars is the need for a long battery charge, being directly near the outlet. Therefore, at the moment, there are systems for recharging the car due to the regenerative braking system. In general, the hybrid scheme was patented back in 1905 by the German Henry Pieper. All modern hybrids are equipped with a powerful electric motor, which helps the internal combustion engine during acceleration, and during braking it stores regenerative energy. As a transmission, as a rule, a variator is used. But in the same Lexus, for example, the system is different. Thanks to the planetary gear, synergy arises - the interaction of an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. In this case, the internal combustion engine spins the wheels in tandem with the electric motor, while rotating the generator. And there is no need for a traditional gearbox: the electronics control the speed of the motors and generator, turning such a system into an ECVT continuously variable transmission.
But in the Lexus UX, which we managedto test, the main thing is not a hybrid power plant at all, but a hybrid transmission. The bottom line is that there are no couplings or driveshafts: there is an electric motor on the rear axle. And if the torque on the front wheels is not enough or they begin to slip, the rear electric traction is connected.
The UX 250h Hybrid Installation is agasoline engine, which is combined with two electric motor-generators (MG1 and MG2) installed in parallel. The total return of such a power plant is almost 180 horsepower. The only minus is that you can’t forcefully ride on one electric traction, the on-board computer decides when to use the battery. At speeds above 115 km / h, only a gasoline engine works.
A little bit about the car
At the heart of the design Lexus UX - a new platformGA-C, the use of which provided the crossover with an ultra-low center of gravity, high body rigidity and excellent handling. The hybrid can be front-wheel drive or with an all-wheel drive transmission E-Four. Good maneuverability of the car is also provided by the dimensions - the turning radius of the UX is 5.2 m.
Read also - an interview with the chief engineer of Lexus UX
The driver has the ability to manage allcar features from their place. In addition, thanks to the thin linings of the front struts and the low dashboard, sensations are created similar to those that arise more when controlling a hatchback than a crossover or SUV.
The machine is equipped with a new version of the system.active safety, which includes a collision avoidance system that can recognize pedestrians in the dark. In daylight, the system pays special attention to cyclists who often go unnoticed on the roads and therefore get into accidents.
In addition, the UX has an automaticswitching high beams to low and has “smart” parking support, which can automatically slow down when parking maneuvers are not very successful. The car independently evaluates the risk of collision with stationary objects and monitors the approach of other vehicles. At the slightest danger of a collision, the car will brake itself and notify the driver of this using visual and audio signals, helping to reduce the risk of a collision or to reduce its consequences.
But I liked the projection mostdisplay. This is no longer a novelty in the automotive industry, but it is in the UX that the display is implemented as conveniently as possible. While driving, you don’t have to look at the dashboard at all - only at the road and the projection display.
The only negative is the size of the trunk. It is not so large that you would carry potatoes in it from the dacha (although one bag will fit), but two suitcases will fit without problems. But there is more space in the back seat - the photographer who traveled with us did not feel discomfort when landing right behind me (with both growing almost 190 cm).
By the way, stitching in the cabin is done by a special seam manually by Takumi masters - only they are allowed to decorate Lexus car interiors.
Let's hit the road!
The route was chosen tricky. I had to not only get on the Lexus NX from Lausanne to Stresa (Italy), but also test the capabilities of the compact crossover in a variety of conditions and on different road surfaces: drive through small cities in Switzerland (without exceeding speed and without violating traffic rules, otherwise here you can go broke), get onto the autobahn, turn onto the mountain road on the way to Chamonix (France) to climb to a height of almost 4,000 meters. In the latter case, however, I still had to use the lift and leave the car at the foot of Mont Blanc.
Lexus UX 250h - top-end equipment, where there isall the gadgets for comfortable driving that I talked about above: LED dipped and main beam headlights with one lens, a color LDA monitor on the center console, Remote-Touch touch panel, water-repellent coating of the front door windows, as well as an intelligent car access system and engine start by pressing a button.
Serpentine became a serious test for UX. I was sure that because of his “off-road” orientation, he will behave a little better on the road than the popular “SUVs”. But no, the car showed handling no worse than that of hatchbacks, which I was very surprised.
With the exterior and interior of the car cananyone to get acquainted, we set ourselves another goal - to check the dynamics of the new UX. And it should be noted that the very simple configuration for the eyes is enough for a comfortable city ride. Where you need to be quicker, it will accelerate, but miracles should not be expected. This is a great option for a city where, as a rule, you are more stuck in traffic jams than moving forward (this was especially noticeable on the narrow roads in Chamonix). And in this case, it doesn’t matter at all how many seconds the car exchanges “a hundred”: first of all, you appreciate smoothness, comfort and economy (with the Eco driving mode, this is even easier).
Yes, with a sharp overtaking on the freewaythat “highlight” inherent in the complete sets with the power unit power above 200 liters. s., but similar situations are extremely rare. Well, plus there is a Sport + driving mode: with it, gear changes become much longer, which positively affects acceleration. At the same time, this again does not affect comfort at all - such is the phenomenon from Lexus. We went all the way from Chamonix to Stresa in this mode (may the organizers forgive us) and were incredibly surprised by the dynamics of the car.
In an urban environment, this smooth “steamboat”Feels more than confident. The car is configured in such a way that all systems, working in symbiosis, provide the most comfortable and safe driving even with a noticeable potential under the hood. Whether it is a trail or a descent to Lake Maggiore.
Hybrid or gasoline?
It took us a little more than 6 hours toto overcome the route "Lausanne - Chamonix - Stresa" (with all the stops), but this time was enough for me to completely change my attitude towards hybrid power plants. This is a great option for a metropolis (it is not for nothing that Lexus UX is called a “city explorer”), and if you want to go with him on the freeway, the hybrid will not disappoint either, its power reserve is good. Yes, and fuel consumption is pleasantly surprising: we got a little more than 4 liters per 100 kilometers, and this despite the fact that sometimes I wanted to push a slipper and ride along mountain roads, where dynamics are especially important.
I got the impression of this carstylish compact urban crossover, which evokes sympathy with both the exterior and interior. If we talk about the dynamics, here everyone chooses for himself - for a comfortable city ride the simplest configuration is enough. For those who sometimes want something more, there is a hybrid version (it gives 178 “horses” instead of 150 for the usual one), which is really worth the money.