Infiniti to unveil a new electric sports car concept at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 19, 2011

Infiniti will display a mid-engined rear-drive two-seater electric sports car concept in March 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show. It’s likely that this machine will be a range-extender and will activate the power of a small capacity petrol engine when the electric power runs out. It’s also the first mid-engined car built by either Infiniti or Nissan, its parent company.

At the Frankfurt Motor Show, Andy Palmer, Infiniti’s global head of planning and communication, confirmed that there are plans for a sports car concept, which will borrow the technology used on the Nissan Leaf.

This means that Infiniti may borrow several parts from the one-off racing version of the Leaf built in early 2011, according to Autocar. Dubbed the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC, the car has a low roofline, a carbonfibre tub and a mid-engined, rear-drive design. However, it comes with a totally standard Nissan Leaf powertrain, its batteries included.

As reported in the past, it’s likely that Formula 1 team Red Bull Racing, which has close links with Infiniti, will be a part of the development of the new sports car. The FX Sebastian Vettel edition high-performance SUV shown at the Frankfurt motor show was created by Infiniti in collaboration with Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel.

Right from the start, the premium carmaker designed the Infiniti LE Concept as a pure Infiniti, instead of being just another electric vehicle laden with luxurious features. Moreover, Infiniti LE Concept features a size just like its conventional siblings, and is in fact as long as an Infiniti G Sedan. This means that the Infiniti LE Concept furthers Infiniti's belief that a zero emission vehicle does not need to be small. With this size and featuring an advanced luxury-styled sedan body, the Infiniti LE Concept represents true luxury, providing the much-wanted comfort and interior space. According to Poore, the exterior of the LE Concept is defined by its high-performing nature, as it is first and foremost an Infiniti born from the carmaker’s Inspired Performance design philosophy. He noted that the LE Concept is not an EV with the Infiniti badge, but is an Infiniti powered by electricity.

He added that the LE Concept proves that luxury could be both gorgeous and deliver zero emissions. As it is, the elegant exterior of the Infiniti LE Concept is a fusion between distinctive Infiniti design elements – like the double-arch grille and crescent-cut rear-pillar – and EV aerodynamic efficiency. It features a strong shoulder line that conveys dynamic flowing movement as well as elegantly balanced proportions that define efficient dynamic form as the new luxury.

Thanks to an array of design features -- like the high rear deck, aluminum-alloy wheels with aero treatment, aero side fin spoilers with integrated illumination, and rear aero diffuser -- the Infiniti LE Concept features a Cd of 0.25 (coefficient of drag). Moreover, the front end of the luxury EV features aero fin spoiler with illumination while Infiniti LED headlights and taillights take on the new design language unveiled on the Infiniti Essence and EMERG-E concepts.

In addition, the LE Concept features a large front grille with a solid finisher, as well as a charge port well-concealed under the illuminated Infiniti emblem. The location of the wireless charger is marked by a special illumination just under the rear diffuser while blue LED lighting flowing around the lower panels provides further exterior accentuations.

Interestingly, the door handles and wheels of the LE Concept are finished in Infiniti EV Blue paint. Poore remarked that while the exterior of the LE Concept has been shaped to optimize its aerodynamic efficiency, it does not expose the unit as an EV – as its design was focused on Infiniti-ness, visibility, utility and hospitality. He added that the interior of the LE Concept benefits from the low-noise nature of the electric drivetrain, allowing its occupants to experience the quietness of a living room, while enjoying more exhilaration and mobility.

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