Yet another sign of the struggle electric cars are facing in gaining a foothold in the market, Infiniti has made the call to shelve plans for the brand’s first EV.
“There will be an Infiniti EV. The question is one of timing,” said Infiniti’s new boss Johan de Nysschen in a recent interview. “We have a whole host of product priorities. We have to make very substantial investments now, and it’s important that we expand our volume footprint quite quickly.”
De Nysschen is moving away from niche products, like the LE electric car concept (above) and a halo sports car to instead focus on volume models as he attempts to raise the brand’s sales to 500,000 by 2017. Last year Infiniti’s global sales tallied just 170,000 units.
SEE ALSO: Infiniti LE Concept First Look Video
First introduced at the New York International Auto Show in 2012, the LE Concept promised to be the world’s first luxury EV from a mainstream automaker. Built by the same company that pioneered the Leaf, it was thought to be a sure thing.
In addition to other priorities, de Nysschen is wary of global infrastructure and demand for electric cars. He does, however, believe a breakthrough in battery technology could be on the horizon commenting that, “It would not be so smart to introduce a car when perhaps 12 or 18 months down the road you have all-new battery technology.”
Instead of an electric car, de Nysschen is committed to a new entry-level compact car that will arrive in 2015. Beyond that, the plan is to focus on two flagship models above the M sedan (recently renamed the Q70). Both of these new models will arrive by 2020 and will be based on the same platform. Described as “high-performance luxury cars,” de Nysschen said the sedan will be more Panamera than 7 Series. Both models will get the same powertrains, but with different bodies.
Making the news particularly surprising is the fact that Infiniti is part of the Nissan-Renault alliance, headed by CEO Carlos Ghosn, a man committed to the electric car and who has publicly announced plans to sell 1.5 million EVs by 2016. Currently, total sales sit at just 100,000 units.
GALLERY: Infiniti LE Concept