Kara Arissa Tan is one of the many bright sparks of Singapore’s millennial generation making their mark as business leaders. Forward-thinking, enlightened and creative are buzzwords that describe their ethos, which take them to unchartered territories, as they seek new ways of connecting in a digital global economy.
But instead of using technology to dream up new ways of living and making meaning in this digital world, Tan is going back in time to the Ming Dynasty in China when bird’s nest was first discovered and served as delicacy to royalty.
The second-generation business leader is refreshing the tried and tested family business model, taking it to new heights while respecting its past. At ZHEN, Tan and her family have spent more than three decades around the swiftlets that create the “Caviar of the East”. ZHEN has a deep-rooted history as a raw material supplier and manufacturer of bird’s nests and has earned its reputation as a pioneer in this sector.
For Tan, family is both the raison d’être and guiding force as she targets new markets. A typical work day sees her zipping around Singapore, from the company’s facility in Woodlands to a myriad of meetings and to personally deliver products to the brand’s longtime clients. Her trusty steed of late? The all-new Lexus RX 350h which she put through its paces over a work week.
For Tan, a seasoned driver who used to have her cars modified to her specific requirements when she lived overseas, the all-new RX 350h is the first hybrid she has driven to date, and she considers the experience an effortless introduction into the world of electrified vehicles.
As the pioneers of self-charging luxury hybrid electric vehicles, Lexus hybrids utilise two sources of energy — a high-output battery coupled with a robust engine, with the hybrid electric system monitoring driving conditions to intelligently coordinate both power sources, allowing the hybrids to be fuel-efficient without compromising on power. They also charge on the go without the need to stop and plug in to a power source.
The all-new RX 350h is an elevated self-charging full hybrid that pairs an ultra-smooth 2.5 litre inline-four engine with a powerful, self-charging electric motor to deliver 247 horsepower with high fuel efficiency of up to 17.8km/L. This saves up to 35 per cent in fuel compared to regular petrol variants.
Beyond fuel efficiency, however, what Tan appreciates about the car is the attention to detail, which is tangible in its technology and refined interior. For example, the Tazuna cockpit, whose name is inspired by the reins of a horse, allows the driver intuitive control, as every element, such as the Head-Up Display, is carefully considered and positioned to optimise the drive. This allows Tan to be in complete control without compromising on an exhilarating drive. Additionally, a 14-inch Touch Screen Display works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to allow easy access to integrated dedicated smartphone functions.
Tan also appreciates the Lane-Tracing Assist (LTA) feature of the all-new RX 350h. The LTA system uses a forward-facing camera to monitor lane markings and will automatically apply steering inputs to keep the vehicle centred in its lane. This feature is just one part of a comprehensive suite of advanced safety technologies known as the Lexus Safety System+.
The all-new RX 350h’s Hands Free Power Back Door with Kick Sensor is also one of the many other features in the Lexus line-up that make Tan’s daily errands easier — a hands-free power lift gate that uses a kick sensor to help her access rear cargo space when her hands are full.
Exhilarating to drive, yet fuel-efficient, the self-charging full hybrid — like all Lexus electrified stablemates — is aligned to the Singapore Green Plan 2030, which charts concrete targets to achieve Singapore’s long-term goal of net zero emissions by 2050. The Green Plan includes a strong push to electrify the nation’s vehicle population, with 2030 as the target to limit all new car registrations to cleaner-energy models.
Tan’s desire to do her part in building a greener future also plays out at ZHEN, which has made strides in weaving sustainability into its corporate philosophy.
The brand’s glass bottles and carriers are recyclable, while ingredients such as floral botanicals are sourced from growers and suppliers that are certified ethical and sustainable in their practices. Even as her focus remains on the health benefits of bird’s nest, the savvy business woman has introduced a range of new flavours to the product range — including chamomile, chrysanthemum, osmanthus, lavender, as well as invigorating options such as ginseng, lemongrass and jasmine.
Just as a new generation of Tan’s customers are able to discover the benefits of bird’s nest in a fast-changing world, the all-new RX 350h combines Lexus’ innovative expertise and commitment to building a sustainable future in one luxurious hybrid designed to be enjoyed to the fullest.