We Speak to Jasmmine Wong, CEO of Inchcape Greater China and Singapore, About the All-Electric Lexus RZ

Published by on

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1683095630167 Jasmmine Featured1

At the recent launch event of the all-electric Lexus RZ 450e, we had the opportunity to speak to Jasmmine Wong, CEO of Inchcape Greater China and Singapore, about her experience with the brand’s first ever dedicated battery electric vehicle (BEV).

The RZ 450e is part of the luxury marque's electrification strategy, with the aim of building a full BEV lineup across all categories by 2030, and the final goal of having 100% BEV models worldwide by 2035.

Motorist (M): How is RZ experience like compared to other Lexus cars in the current lineup?

Jasmmine Wong (JW): My last car was an LS500h, which I still keep because I really love it. One good thing about Lexus is that it's got a very good range of hybrid vehicles. A strength of the brand is that it focuses on the small details, like overall comfort, quietness, smoothness of the ride, and easy handling. That is the signature Lexus feel. That's why if you have friends who own our cars, they tend to stay with us over generations.

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1683078500486 Rz Front A

So when the RZ was first launched, I was quite nervous because I was so used to the Lexus omotenashi experience, and didn't want to lose that (Japanese spirit of hospitality) when transitioning to the BEV. 

But after driving it for about three weeks, I think that it stands out from other luxury EVs, in a sense that it is a very good transitioning step for existing Lexus customers. The RZ offers a BEV experience without compromising on or losing the Lexus touch, which is the sense of familiarity such as the dashboard and seating design, as well as the sound system.

M: So to sum it up, the best qualities of Lexus are still present in the RZ, just that it's in an electrified form.

JW: That's correct. 

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1683078806031 Interview1

M: Where does the RZ stand in terms of balancing comfort and performance?

JW: Lexus is known more for its comfort than performance, but the RZ offers both. And to me, that is one notch up. Its 0-100 km/h acceleration is very strong, and because it's powered by a dual-motor setup, you do not feel any lag when getting up to speed. And I really like how the one-pedal drive system works, as it allows you to adjust the degree of sensitivity when on the move. It makes the driving experience easier without adjusting your style too much.

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1683080113079 R2

I think another important point is the charging process. The battery can be recharged fairly quickly, regardless of whether you choose AC or DC outlets. With DC fast charging at our Leng Kee showroom, I can charge the RZ up in much less than an hour. And with AC charging, I only need five to six hours for the car's battery to be full. It's quite convenient and easy to use, and we've recently tied up with Shell to develop a scheme that'll allow people complimentary access to our chargers, or rent our cars at a subsidised rate if they want to drive to Malaysia.

M: Is this part of the Kinto programme?

JW: You can call it part of Kinto, but it's also open to RZ customers, and those who want to go up North but still have range anxiety. They can simply drop by our Leng Kee showroom to rent our hybrid cars without having to worry about range.

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1683079393024 J2

M: Speaking of charging, from your experience, how much range do you get on the RZ with a full charge?

JW: One thing I realised is that range on an EV is very different from that on a normal car, and will fluctuate depending on how you drive, or if you use different driving modes (e.g. Eco Mode or Normal). Do you tend turn the aircon off or keep it on when stationary? And does your driving route involve driving mostly on the highway, or in dense traffic environments?

For the Lexus RZ, I'm looking at about 380 km of real-world range easily. But of course, it will fluctuate when you use the AC or change your driving habits. One thing I've learned about driving an EV is that there are multiple ways to save electricity, such as trying out the different modes of driving available.

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1683080067725 Photo+Op

M: After spending some time with the RZ, which feature of the SUV have you come to like the most? Personally, I quite love the panoramic glass roof with the Dynamic Sky function.

JW: Ah, that one is quite nice. It gives the passengers a sense of airiness in the cabin without completely blocking out the natural light, which taps on one of the objectives of the RZ, which is to promote spaciousness inside. In that sense, the tinting effect is pretty good.

Actually, the one I like best is the Mark Levinson sound system. It performs much better because the RZ itself is already very quiet due to its electric drivetrain. And its clarity makes the whole cabin feel very serene and nice. I like to listen to classical music and tune in to Symphony 92.4 FM. And when it's playing through the audio system, it's really amplified, especially piano concertos and opera pieces. The overall experience is really quite amazing, and makes you feel like you're in the concert hall.

Editor's note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity

Photo Credit: Muhammad Mu'tasim (@mutasimdrives) and Sean Loo (@auto.driven)

Download the Motorist App

The easiest and smartest way to manage your vehicle in Singapore.

Download Now

Read More: All-Electric Lexus RZ 450e Launches in Singapore

Download the Motorist App now. Designed by drivers for drivers, this all-in-one app lets you receive the latest traffic updates, gives you access to live traffic cameras, and helps you manage LTA and vehicle matters.

Did you know we have a Motorist Telegram Channel? Created exclusively for drivers and car owners in Singapore, you can get instant info about our latest promotions, articles, tips & hacks, or simply chat with the Motorist Team and fellow drivers.