Infiniti delays LE EV by two years to wait for new charging technology

Article by Anita Panait, on July 23, 2013

Infiniti is delaying the introduction of electric vehicle until the 2016 model year as the new wireless technology critical to the offering’s success is not yet ready for the retail market. Infiniti has said for three years that it plans to introduce its EV, temporarily dubbed as the LE, in the 2014 model year. The technology -- called inductive charging – was unveiled when Infiniti presented the LE at the 2012 New York auto show.

The technology does not require a plug-in to recharge an EV. Instead, the advanced wireless system enables the vehicle's lithium ion battery module to be recharged simply by parking it on a charging mat. This innovative plug-less feature is considered as a critical luxury product differentiation from other EVs available on the market, including the Nissan Leaf that is derived from the same platform as the LE.

According to Andy Palmer, global product planning chief for Infiniti and Nissan, the delay does not mean that the luxury brand has lost its enthusiasm for the project as it is still eager to bring the LE to market.

Palmer recently remarked to Automotive News Europe that the Infiniti LE will feature a new-generation lithium ion battery that will increase driving range. He said that by delaying the LE a little bit, they could incorporate some “interesting advances” in electric technology they hadn't anticipated when they unveiled the EV.

From the very beginning, the Infiniti LE Concept has been conceived as a genuine Infiniti, instead of as an electric automobile with luxury features. The car is also substantive in shape, at an equal total length as the Infiniti G Sedan, that supports Infiniti's principle that zero emissions does not mean being little in size. The Infiniti LE Concept does not give up on being roomy or comfortable, and that is why it begins with an innovative deluxe-styled sedan body, not an adapted hatchback.

The Infiniti LE Concept's intense exterior combines distinct Infiniti design elements, like the double-arched grille and crescent-cut back pillar, with EV streamlined efficiency to produce a smooth, expressive profile. The powerful shoulder outline that guides the eye from the front to the back articulates a vibrant, sophisticated streaming motion. The wonderfully balanced dimensions embody an effective dynamic shape as a new meaning of luxury.

Many design elements add to the drag coefficient of 0.25, which assists drive scope, including the aluminium alloy wheels with aero treatment, the tall rear deck, rear aero diffuser, and aero side fin spoilers with combined illumination. The big front grille has a solid finisher and a hidden charge port under the illumined centre Infiniti logo. The recessed skirted front fascia has an illuminated aero fin spoiler. The signature Infiniti LED headlamps and taillamps resound with the design objective of Infiniti's latest Infiniti Essence and EMERG-E ideals.

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