2010 Lexus HS250h with Charles Hubbard

Charles Hubbard, Lexus dealer education, University of Toyota, talks to me while driving the 2010 Lexus HS 250h.

This is Lexus first four-cylinder gas engine and latest hybrid system. Peak output equals 147 horsepower and in combination with the hybrid drive motor, the HS generates 187 total system horsepower. A second motor in the hybrid system serves as both engine starter and generator to charge the hybrid battery pack.

It also meets the California SULEV and federal Tier 2 Bin 3 exhaust emission standards. I asked why not have it tested as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV). According to Hubbard, all it’s competitors are SULEV, so they didn’t go the extra mile for the PZEV.

Similar to the Lexus RX 450h, the HS employs an Exhaust Heat Recovery System that captures the heat of spent exhaust gases to speed engine coolant warm-up and allow the hybrid system to stop the engine earlier and more often in the driving cycle when it’s not needed, for example in low power demand conditions in city driving. This is fast becoming a must have for fuel economy and emissions reduction. Even Rolls-Royce has a version on it’s newest concept car.

The driver can select among four modes: Power, Normal, Eco and EV. Each mode allows for better fuel economy than the next. How much of the Prius is in the HS 250h?

Can the Nickel Metal Hydride battery (NiMH) in the HS 250h be changed out for a lithium-ion if Toyota decides to start using a L-ion?

How much will the HS 250h cost?

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.