Infiniti Prototype 10 Speedster previews looks and performance of future electrified models

Article by Christian A., on August 27, 2018

Infiniti is presenting at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance its newest concept car that signifies its great desire to develop new electric and e-power vehicle that will deliver not just intense driving pleasure and extended range, but also breathtaking performance. Built as a speedster, the new Infiniti Prototype 10 provides a glimpse on what drives can expect –in terms of looks, technology and performance – from the marque’s electrified models.

Infiniti is moving on to its plan to start offering new electrified products in 2021, with the Prototype 10 serving as the carmaker’s proof that it is serious on this endeavor to offer a new range of ultra-low emissions vehicles.

The unveiling of the new Infiniti Prototype 10 follows the reveal of other prior design studies in the last 12 months. The Infiniti Prototype 9 was revealed at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance while the Infiniti Q Inspiration concept was unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show.

While the open-wheeled, electric retro-theme Prototype 9 was Infiniti’s take on roadster racing in the 1930s, the Prototype 10 is its representation of the future as inspired by the spirit of early speedsters. It design borrows from the 2018 Q Inspiration concept, which previews the new look of future Infiniti models. It evolves the form language first seen on the Prototype 9 and Q Inspiration, and serves as a clue on how Infiniti plans to evolve the looks of its production models. As a single-seat speedster, the Prototype 10 embodies Infiniti’s desire to electrify its cars, and its promise to deliver new levels of performance and driving pleasure.

The new Infiniti Prototype 10 was designed under direction of Karim Habib, Infiniti's new Executive Design Director. Its creation was overseen by Infiniti's Japan design center; designed digitally in the United Kingdom; and crafted by hand in San Diego, California. It features a monoposto (single-seat) cockpit that indicates new opportunities that opened for the carmaker by making use of flexible vehicle platforms and electrified powertrains.

According to Infiniti, the new Prototype 10 boasts of clear, concise lines and confident proportions seen on the Q Inspiration, but without the body volume of the concept sedan. The design of the new Prototype 10 is essentially defined by flowing bodyworks, ultra-modern shapes, as well as clean abrupt lines. Its clean, uninterrupted surfaces are a reference to its electrical power source.

Its performance, meanwhile, is clearly expressed by its low speedster layout, confident proportions, a long bonnet, open cockpit and a dramatic fin behind the driver's seat.

The monoposto cockpit of the new Infiniti Prototype 10 is inspired by single-seat formula race cars, featuring a highly technical race-inspired steering wheel mounted on lightweight carbon fiber struts extruding out of the bodywork. It makes use of Infiniti's steer-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering.

Its driver gets to enjoy a single seat trimmed in black leather with red stitching. The seat has been mounted low to lower the overall center of gravity, with only the head of the driver visible above the bodywork.

The new Infiniti Prototype 10 also hints at the possibility of the brand’s new electrified vehicles be underpinned by rigid, modular platforms with flat floors. The use of modular platforms will allow the carmaker to apply electric powertrains in variety of way in different body types and sizes, include sedans, sports cars and SUVs.

Press Release

INFINITI PROTOTYPE 10 THE SPIRIT OF THE SPEEDSTER FOR AN ELECTRIFIED ERA

Bridging past and future, the INFINITI Prototype 10 recaptures the spirit of early speedsters for
an era of electrified performance. Revealed today for the first time at the 2018 Pebble Beach
Concours d’Elegance, the concept represents a physical manifestation of INFINITI’s creative
and ambitious plans for electrified performance.

As a brand with technological innovation at its core, electrification is a natural next step for
INFINITI. From 2021, every new INFINITI model will feature electric drivetrain technology to
enhance performance. The Prototype 10 provides a window into INFINITI’s desire to deliver
driving pleasure, thrilling performance and range confidence.

Following the ground-breaking Prototype 9 concept first revealed at the 2017 Pebble Beach
Concours d’Elegance, INFINITI has ‘looked back to go forward’ with the Prototype 10. A future
vision realized by INFINITI designers, Prototype 10 evokes the spirit of early Californian
speedsters, and is informed by some of the most iconic car designs of all time.

This is the first project to come to fruition under the direction of Karim Habib, INFINITI’s new
Executive Design Director, and it hints at how the brand’s design teams will evolve the
appearance of its production cars. A project spanning the globe, the Prototype 10’s creation
has been overseen by INFINITI’s Japan design center, designed digitally in the U.K., and crafted
by hand in San Diego, California.

The new concept is resolutely forward-looking in terms of its aesthetics and is a natural
evolution of the form language first seen in the INFINITI Q Inspiration and Prototype 9. The
monoposto (single-seat) cockpit is consistent with INFINITI’s driver-focused approach, and is
indicative of the new opportunities created for INFINITI by adopting electrified powertrains and
flexible vehicle platforms.

“We all feel a certain degree of passion when talking about roadsters and speedsters. We are
equally passionate about the potential that electrification holds for the future of our cars – a
daring speedster is the perfect study for our designers to explore an electrified future and ignite
such excitement.”
Roland Krueger, President, INFINITI

INFINITI Prototype 10 in detail
Cool, clean, forward-looking, and inspired by electrified performance

“The INFINITI Prototype 10 echoes the layout and design of early speedsters. This period saw
the creation of some of the most evocative car designs of all time, where power was celebrated
through high-powered single-seat competition cars. Our new concept speaks of an electrified
future, something which is reflected in its form and details. It is appropriate that we found
inspiration in an optimistic bygone era in which cars were characterized by the simple love of
driving.”
Karim Habib, Executive Design Director, INFINITI

Inspiration: a speedster for the modern era
In creating the Prototype 10, INFINITI has re-imagined the classic speedster with a cool, clean,
forward-looking design. Inspired by the potential for electrification, INFINITI’s new concept
seeks to demonstrate the daring spirit of performance that will inform the brand’s production
vehicles in the future.

The new concept follows two other design studies revealed by INFINITI in the last 12 months:
the Prototype 9 – first revealed in 2017 – and the INFINITI Q Inspiration concept, unveiled at
the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Where Prototype 9 – a sleek, open-wheeled, electric retro-roadster – imagined an alternative
history for INFINITI, the Prototype 10 is resolutely focused on what the future holds for the
brand. Utterly daring in its bold execution, the new concept is inspired by the spirit of early
speedsters, its form and function evoking driving pleasure and thrilling performance. Even its
monoposto cockpit is consistent with INFINITI’s approach to creating driver-focused cars. The
Prototype 10 also echoes the design of the 2018 Q Inspiration concept, which previewed a
new form language for INFINITI in an era of advanced powertrains.

“For us, Prototype 9 evoked the thrill and drama of early open-wheeled racing, and Prototype
10 represents another passion project for our designers. This idea of ‘looking back to go
forward’, and combining the inspiration of an earlier aesthetic with future technology, lets us
show how excited we are about the era of electrification. Prototype 10 draws on some of the
most iconic and evocative car designs of all time to illustrate this excitement.”
Karim Habib, Executive Design Director, INFINITI

Harnessing a global creative team

The Prototype 10 has been designed under the direction of INFINITI’s new Executive Design
Director, Karim Habib. The first project to come to fruition under his instruction, it hints at how
INFINITI’s design teams will evolve and adapt the appearance of its production cars in future.

INFINITI’s design teams in Asia, Europe and North America have each been involved in the
creation of Prototype 10 from its inception. A forward-looking project on a global scale, its
creation has been masterminded by INFINITI’s Japan design center and forged digitally in the
U.K. Evoking the spirit of early speedsters, it was to be expected that the project would be
completed in San Diego, California – home of INFINITI’s North American design base.

The unveiling at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is no accident. California has an
automotive culture all of its own, with a rich vein of individual expression empowering car fans
and gearheads alike to create their own unique, hand-built machines. This instinct for
challenging accepted automotive norms – aided by the ever-temperate weather – meant
California was destined to become the spiritual home of the high-performance speedster. A
similar passion for expression has driven INFINITI’s designers in creating the Prototype 10, a
physical manifestation of the brand’s vision for vehicle electrification.

“California is intrinsically linked to the speedster body style and remains a cultural center for
independent car tuning and coachbuilding to this day. Prototype 10 taps into this unique
Californian ethos of self-expression, both in its design and its performance.”
Karim Habib, Executive Design Director, INFINITI

INFINITI’s electrification strategy

“Prototype 10 provides a link between where INFINITI stands now, and where we are heading.
For us, electrification means performance – our cars will be powerful, efficient, and highly
rewarding to drive, and Prototype 10 is a physical representation of our electrified future.”
Karim Habib, Executive Design Director, INFINITI

Designed as a single-seat speedster, the Prototype 10 hints at the performance intent of all
future electrified models from INFINITI. It doesn’t just embody the brand’s basic desire to
electrify its cars, but represents a promise to deliver driving pleasure.

From 2021, all-new INFINITI’s models will offer a mix of pure electric vehicles and e-POWER
vehicles – demonstrating the full range of ultra-low emissions technology available. The
Prototype 10 seeks to illustrate what drivers will come to associate with the brand’s electrified
models. Echoing the performance traditions of the speedster, INFINITI will deliver electric
performance of the highest order.

Delivering high performance in the smartest way possible, electric motors will be used to provide
INFINITI vehicles with breathtaking off-the-line acceleration and thrilling speeds. By eliminating
the need for external charging sources, INFINITI’s unique e-POWER models will also provide
‘range confidence’ for longer journeys.

Design
Realizing INFINITI’s vision for electrified performance
“In designing Prototype 10, we wanted to explore how an INFINITI could look in future with the
arrival of electrified powertrains. The idea of clean motoring is carried over in the car’s
uncluttered, skyward-facing surfaces, while simple, geometric details provide a visual link to the
notion of electrification and direct power.”
Karim Habib, Executive Design Director, INFINITI

A daring evolution of Q Inspiration’s form language

A carefully crafted evolution of the design language first shown with the INFINITI Q Inspiration
concept in 2018, the Prototype 10 is resolutely forward-looking in terms of its aesthetics. Like
the Q Inspiration, the new design study proposes how the function of an advanced, electrified
powertrain could be communicated in a stunning new form. While it retains the clean,
uninterrupted surfaces of the Q Inspiration – an elongated, coupé-like sedan – the Prototype
10 telegraphs the performance benefits of electric powertrains with a more purposeful
speedster configuration.

Clear, concise lines and confident proportions, without the body volume of the Q Inspiration,
characterize the concept’s design. With a pared-back and more geometric form, the bodywork
incorporates a series of austere, straight lines, which are particularly evident in the 90-degree
relationship between the bodywork and the fin behind the driver’s head. Ultra-modern shapes
and clean, abrupt lines, punctuate a design that would otherwise be characterized by the flowing
nature of its bodywork.

“Prototype 10 follows the INFINITI Q Inspiration concept in introducing a new form language
for an electrified era, hinting at electric performance of the highest order. Where the Q
Inspiration presented a degree of sensuality in its surfaces, Prototype 10 evolves this design
with more purpose and aggression.”
Karim Habib, Executive Design Director, INFINITI

Design inspired by high-performance electric motoring

“Our electric vehicle architecture represents a turning point for our design teams, a chance to
present alternative proportions with different shapes. This new design language prioritizes
clean, efficient lines with which we can articulate a new, confident design language.”
Roland Krueger, President, INFINITI

In seeking to understand the way INFINITI’s vehicles will look in future, every element of the
Prototype 10’s design links to the notion of electrification. As with the Q Inspiration concept,
the clean, uninterrupted surfaces serve as a reference to the power source that provides an
uninterrupted flow of electric propulsion.

The most obvious representation of the car’s performance is its low speedster layout and
confident proportions, with its long bonnet and open cockpit contrasted by a dramatic fin
behind the driver’s seat.

Where the Prototype 10’s unbroken, skyward-facing surfaces reflect the uninterrupted nature
of electric motor power delivery, the bodywork itself is punctuated by geometric lines. These
lines reference the shock of sudden acceleration enabled by a powertrain, which can instantly
deliver 100% of available torque with a push of the accelerator pedal. Straight lines give added
definition to the grilles at the front of the car, and the side strakes that plunge into the rear
wheel arches. The cooling ducts in the open-air cockpit – one behind the driver, one in place of a
passenger seat – are also characterized by their sharp geometry, with their very structure
appearing to take the form of an electrical pulse. The upright fin behind the driver’s head carves
into the rear deck of the car, with razor-sharp forms also evident in the design of the triangular
rear light.

The front of the car features a prominent INFINITI badge pressed deep into the bodywork, with
distinct creases running over the front fenders and up the center of the hood. Slashes at the
base of the hood house ultra-thin headlights, as sharp in their appearance as the power delivery
is direct. Contrasting the silver bodywork, a black chin spoiler at the base of the bumper is
designed to enhance downforce at the front, and channel airflow beneath the completely flat
underfloor of the vehicle.

Unbroken lines and smooth body surfaces flow rearwards, culminating in a tapered rear deck,
similar to that of the earlier Q Inspiration concept. Once again, the performance spirit is present
in the subtle rear diffuser, which channels air out from beneath the car and provides an efficient
aerodynamic profile as the car carves near-silently through the air at higher speeds.
A monoposto cockpit underlining INFINITI’s driver-focused approach

“We were drawn to the idea of outlaw racers adapting their own cars for grass-roots racing.
Cabriolets become roadsters and speedsters with the removal of the roof, or by fitting a
smaller, swept-back windshield. Many owners even covered the passenger bay to create a
monoposto competition car.”
Karim Habib, Executive Design Director, INFINITI

The cockpit echoes the design philosophy of the exterior, with clean, flowing surfaces bisected
by geometric lines. The hood flows seamlessly into the open-air cabin, drawing attention to the
driver’s seat and the large electric motor cooling ducts. The speedster layout encouraged
INFINITI’s designers to create a monoposto cockpit, with attention focused solely on the driver.

Fully visible from outside the car, the pure, minimalist cockpit captures the essence of INFINITI’s
driver-focused approach. Where cabins in INFINITI production vehicles are designed to be
‘driver-focused and passenger minded’, the sole purpose of Prototype 10 is to deliver a thrilling
driving experience. In place of a passenger seat, therefore, a large vent lets air flow into the rear
of the car to cool the electric motor and batteries.

Prototype 10’s cockpit design is inspired by single-seat formula racecars – placing the driver
fully in-control with an unhindered view of the road ahead, with ready access to ergonomic
controls and with minimal distraction. Communicating the notion of electrification and
performance, Prototype 10’s uncluttered cockpit is fitted only with a driver’s seat, four-point
harness, brake and accelerator pedals and a striking, highly technical race-inspired steering
wheel.

The steering wheel is the most visually arresting element of the cabin, mounted on lightweight
carbon fiber struts that extrude out of the bodywork. There is no need for an intrusive steering
column due to the presence of INFINITI’s steer-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering, providing
lightning-fast responses to steering inputs. The shape of the struts holding the wheel in place is
echoed in the form of the steeply raked wind guard, deflecting air over and around the driver’s
head and into the cooling ducts. The small-diameter wheel itself adheres to motorsport
principles, with a flat lower section and distinct grips for the driver’s hands – with no gears to
change, an electrified powertrain means fewer physical distractions. Like the INFINITI ‘infinite
road’ logo, the center of the wheel extends away from the driver, leading into a compact
instrument display.

The single seat is trimmed in black leather, with red stitching matching the center of the wheel.
Extended side and hip bolsters provide a snug fit and maximum possible lateral support. The
seat is mounted as low in the cockpit as possible to help lower the overall center of gravity, with
only the driver’s head visible above the bodywork – it is for this reason that INFINITI designers
dubbed this aspect of Prototype 10 ‘The Bathtub’ during its creation.

Powertrain electrification
Embodying INFINITI’s desire to develop electrified models that offer driving pleasure, thrilling
performance, and extended range

“Prototype 10 highlights the shift towards powertrain electrification for INFINITI. In the near
future our cars will offer high performance, extended driving range and the intelligent
management of energy.”
Roland Krueger, President, INFINITI

A physical manifestation of INFINITI’s creative and ambitious plans for electrification
From 2021, all new INFINITI models will feature electrified powertrains. Electrification is a
natural progression for INFINITI, as a brand with technological innovation at its core – and the
Q Inspiration concept and Prototype 10 represent the latest steps in the brand’s shift to only
produce electrified cars.

As a physical manifestation of INFINITI’s creative and ambitious plans to electrify its model lineup,
Prototype 10 demonstrates the potential application for the brand’s future powertrain
technologies. New models will offer owners a choice of pure battery electric vehicles, highperformance
parallel hybrid vehicles and unique, performance focused e-POWER powertrains.

INFINITI’s electrified vehicles will break down many of the perceived barriers to EV ownership.
INFINITI e-POWER models in particular will eliminate the need for an external charging source,
providing ‘range confidence’ for long journeys while delivering the same memorable and
invigorating EV driving experience.

High performance remains a key tenet for INFINITI, with innovative drivetrain technologies
applied to deliver truly electrifying performance. As hinted at by the Prototype 10, INFINITI’s
electrified cars will enable rapid acceleration, high speeds, and intelligent energy management.

Flexible vehicle platforms create new possibilities for powertrain and chassis layouts
“Electrification provides new opportunities for the design and layout of our cars. In
accommodating batteries and electric motors, or employing smaller gasoline engines, we aren’t
bound by the same physical restrictions. Prototype 10 shows how an electrified powertrain
could fit within a lean, lightweight and daring body, and this enabled us to rethink the
fundamental layout of the car.”
Karim Habib, Executive Design Director, INFINITI

The unique layout of Prototype 10 suggests the approach that INFINITI will take in engineering
its new cars. INFINITI’s EV and e-POWER powertrains offer greater packaging flexibility for
INFINITI engineers, and afford new creative freedom in design.

Prototype 10 hints at the potential for INFINITI to adopt rigid, modular platforms with flat
floors to underpin every one of its new electrified vehicles, and support a new era of design and
packaging. Indeed, it’s due to the flat floor that the Prototype 10 driver’s seat can be situated
so low in the chassis.

Modular platforms will enable INFINITI to apply e-POWER and battery EV powertrains in new
and creative ways within chassis of all shapes and sizes – including sedans, SUVs and sports
cars. Electrification also provides the opportunity to introduce a wider variety of drivetrains,
including a new e-AWD system, underpinned by electric motor technology, to help transform
perceptions of EV performance and power delivery.

Purely a design study at this stage, Prototype 10 nevertheless hints at the inherent flexibility of
INFINITI’s approach to platform and powertrain development. The ducts and vents in Prototype
10’s body could enhance cooling for a battery pack, even INFINITI’s unique, performance
focused e-POWER technology.

Source: Infiniti

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