Infiniti LE Concept is French for Luxury Electric: 2012 NY Auto Show

Infiniti LE Concept is French for Luxury Electric: 2012 NY Auto Show

It may have been rumored as a rebadged Nissan Leaf, but Infiniti’s new electric car concept is unique, luxurious and innovative.

Unveiled today at the New York International Auto Show the Infiniti LE Concept is referred to as a “production intent” vehicle says Infiniti of the Americas Vice President Ben Poore, with plans to have a model in dealerships in two years.

Infiniti doesn’t say exactly what LE stands for, and while “Luxury Electric” comes to mind, so does the brand’s ownership by French automaker Renault.

“Infiniti believes the future of luxury is sustainable luxury and we intend to continue taking a leadership role, building on the foundation set by our advanced Infiniti M Hybrid and high-mpg Infiniti JX luxury crossover,” says Poore. As a result, the Le Concept offers a premium interior, stylish exterior, a powerful motor and some impressive new technology.

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Taking inspiration from the Essence and Emerg-E concepts the LE Concept doesn’t look like a function-over-form design, despite having an incredibly low 0.25 coefficient of drag. Notable design elements include the crescent-shaped c-pillars at the back of the car, the blue lower lighting and the large 19-inch wheels.

Space is not compromised with the LE, sharing roughly the same dimensions as the G sedan. Also helping keep the interior room at a maximum is the location of the car’s electric batteries below the floor.

Power generated from the lithium-ion batteries is rated at a modest 134 hp, though torque is much more substantial with 240 lb-ft instantly available. “Buyers want ‘green,’ but won’t settle for any aspect of the driving experience being less than that of their current luxury vehicles,” says Poore.

Perhaps the most innovative aspect of the LE, however, is it’s cordless charging capability. While traditional cords can be used, the LE just needs to park over the home-based charging pad to power up the car’s batteries. Infiniti is also eager to point out that this system is safe in case children or pets get too close. Better yet, the LE uses what Infiniti calls Intelligent Park Assist, which can steer the car and even control it in forward and reverse. Using the Infiniti around-view monitor, the car can perfectly place itself on top of the charge pad.

“With the Wireless Charging and Intelligent Park Assist, there are no cables, no maintenance and no concern about the perfect alignment of vehicle and charger,” said Poore.  “So, on top of no longer having to pump gas, you will no longer have to connect charging cables.”

Looking for a charging port away from home? Infiniti has that covered as well. While the Nissan Leaf allows you to located a charging station and give you navigation directions to it, the LE will be capable of actually reserving a charging station at your destination – once such infrastructure becomes available.

Previewing the brand’s first ever electric luxury sedan, Infiniti plans to bring the LE to marked within the next two years.

GALLERY: Infiniti LE Concept

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GALLERY: Infiniti LE Concept Live Photos

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