Launched today in Japan, the HS 250H – with HS standing for "harmonious sedan " – features not only an energy efficient hybrid engine, but also liberal use of so-called eco-plastics made from organic material in its interior and a satellite navigation system designed to help drivers engage in greener motoring practices.
Other automakers have launched high-end hybrids – Mercedes recently launched a hybrid version of its popular S-Class – but Toyota claims it is the only company to create a hybrid-only luxury car range with the HS.
Although the HS has only been launched in Japan so far, and will not be available in the US until September, Toyota has already begun the marketing drive in the states.
"While EPA numbers haven't been finalised, we expect it will offer the best MPG for any luxury car in the US – in fact its in-city MPG should be higher than the two passenger micro-car," said Templin.
Lexus also claims that up to 85 per cent of the HS model can be recycled, including the hybrid engine's batteries. "We have... made sure that the HS gives back," he said. "We have used plant-based eco-plastics in upholstery, luxury trim and trunk panels as well as foam and injected parts – in total 30 per cent of the interior and cargo area uses eco-plastics."
The HS also features a navigation system known as Harmonious Driving Navigator, which tracks how efficiently the vehicle is driven and even awards points to the greenest drivers that can be converted into charitable donations. "This system creates a fun way to encourage drivers to drive in an environmentally considerate way," Toyota said.