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Lexus LS could spawn EV, PHEV, fuel cell variants

Alternative powertrains are still on the table for the future, according to Lexus' chief engineer.

Right now, you can pick up a new 2018 Lexus LS with your choice of gas or hybrid-electric powertrains. But that choice could very well expand in the future as the LS grows into its shoes.

Lexus could very well expand the latest generation of LS luxury sedan to include more advanced powertrains, Australia's GoAuto reports, citing a conversation with Toshio Asahi, chief engineer for the LS. Whether it's a plug-in hybrid, a pure EV or a hydrogen fuel-cell powertrain, the options are "all on the table."

But will they make a variant with a regular-sized grille?


Any additions are likely to arrive with a new model year, or with a midcycle refresh, so it could be months or even years before any of these projects is given an official debut. Nevertheless, it's good to know that the LS packs the ability to accommodate additional methods of propulsion.

Asahi also told GoAuto that engineers are working to develop a more powerful version of the LS 500h hybrid that's currently on sale. The current version puts out 354 net horsepower, enough to scoot the car to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds, but it'll still get 33 mpg on the highway. A more powerful variant would likely sacrifice some of its economy for additional motive force.

Were Lexus to make a battery-electric LS variant, it would likely do battle with the forthcoming Mercedes-EQ S, which is reportedly due in 2020 and will exist alongside a more traditional gas-powered S-Class. If Lexus took the fuel-cell route -- to which Toyota is no stranger -- it would stand alone as the only fuel-cell vehicle in its segment.

Asahi didn't give away the whole farm, and automakers regularly decline to discuss future product until the time is right, so you'll have to wait with bated breath until Lexus decides it's the right time to make any of this happen.