2016 Lexus ES 300h
Toyota has made it abundantly clear that it believes its hybrids and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are a better path to the future than battery-electric cars.
The Japanese automaker believes hybrid cars—a segment it dominates—are the more practical choice for reducing fuel consumption, and that fuel-cell cars will eventually surpass battery electrics as the preferred technology to power zero-emission vehicles.
That attitude extends particularly to Toyota's Lexus luxury brand.
Lexus has taken shots at electric cars before in ads, but the latest jab comes right from its main website.
A banner on the page for hybrid models now reads "Always Charged. Always Ready."
Further down the page, the copy declares that Lexus hybrids "perfectly blend fuel efficiency, instantaneous power and indulgent luxury—all with nothing to plug in."
2016 Lexus CT 200h
That would imply that hybrids are the more convenient choice because they never have to be plugged in—unlike all-electric cars.
It's absolutely true that some car buyers simply don't want to deal with charging an electric car, especially if the installation of a home charging station isn't practical for them.
But in painting this picture, what Lexus leaves out is that no hybrids can match the energy efficiency of electric cars over their entire drive cycle.
ALSO SEE: Lexus Ad Not Only Sneers At Plug-Ins, But Gets Charging Wrong (May 2014)
Many consumers find the idea of a vehicle with zero tailpipe emissions appealing, and are willing to spend 10 seconds to plug in a car to achieve that.
As many electric-car owners will attest, plugging is far less onerous or challenging than some might think.
The increasing availability of public charging stations is only making it easier.
2016 Lexus RX 450h F Sport
Still, Lexus is expected to continue focusing on conventional hybrids—no plug-in hybrids like the Toyota Prius Prime are anticipated—and possibly offer a hydrogen fuel-cell model in the future.
It currently sells five hybrid models in the U.S., including hybrid versions of the ES and GS sedans and RX and NX crossovers.
There's also the dedicated CT 200h hatchback, now at the end of its model cycle. It's expected to reappear in a new generation as a sedan, perhaps with the hatchback version remaining.
MORE: Lexus Fuel Cell Car Likely To Be Based on New LS Luxury Sedan (Oct 2015)
Lexus also plans to introduce a low-volume hybrid version of its upcoming LC luxury coupe, called the LC 500h.
As for fuel cells, the next LS full-size sedan (previously offered as a hybrid) may get a hydrogen fuel-cell powertrain during its next redesign.
This was hinted at by the LF-FC fuel-cell concept car that debuted at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show last year.
[hat tip: SkierPage]