Lexus RX 400h

Police forces throughout the country will soon have the opportunity to trial the new Lexus RX 400h, the world’s first high performance hybrid SUV.

Starting with Hampshire Police, the RX 400h will be fitted out to full police specification, including the Nemesis, camera monitoring system. John Bradley, Hampshire Police Fleet Manager commented: "We have already received positive feedback from our officers after an initial trial and know that the vehicle’s performance was outstanding, with quick acceleration and more than adequate response throughout the range of the electronic gearbox. We eagerly await the fully equipped model when we will be able to put it through its paces and gauge the performance under police operational conditions.

"With a fleet that covers 14.5 million miles per year and uses in the region of 390,000 litres of fuel, it is the responsibility of all fleet managers to seriously consider a vehicle’s environmental impact when purchasing new models."

The Lexus RX 400h is the world’s first premium SUV to feature a hybrid power system. It achieves a unique position in the market by not only delivering the low exhaust emissions and high fuel efficiency that are well-established characteristics of hybrid power, but also by providing the high performance that has until now been the preserve of large-capacity petrol engine models.

The RX 400h’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system combines a 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine with a 165bhp front electric motor that has a world’s-best power to weight and volume ratio, a high voltage battery and a generator. A second electric motor at the rear axle gives the vehicle an electric four-wheel drive capability - E-Four - that is automatically engaged when required.

In any journey, the system will operate in different modes in order to maintain the maximum efficiency, with power from the engine, the electric motors or a combination of both. Whenever the vehicle comes to a halt, the engine will automatically be switched off to minimise fuel consumption.

Andy Simpson, National Corporate and Remarketing Manager for Lexus (GB) Ltd said: "We are extremely pleased with the high level of interest shown in the hybrid RX from forces throughout the country at the Police Fleet Managers Conference. With the benefits offered by hybrid technology in the RX 400h and with the arrival of the new Lexus GS 450h due next year, we will undoubtedly strengthen our customer base among professional bodies."

Published : 20/08/05 Author : Melanie Carter

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