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Set to debut at the New York Auto Show next week, the unnamed car is referred to simply as the “Infiniti Zero Emission Luxury Concept”. A part of a larger presentation given to journalists during the launch of the new JX model last week in Charleston, SC, Infinit has never confirmed that the model is Leaf-based, but has said it will seat five.
Infiniti marketing boss Keith St. Clair even attempted to lay rest to doubters commenting that the car will be “100 percent electric, 100 percent luxury, 100 percent performance.”
In related news, St. Clair also spoke about the Emerg-E plug-in hybrid sports car concept that was unveiled recently in Geneva, commenting that the vehicle is, “signaling out intent to deliver a halo sports car in the very near future.”
Nissan has already come clean on plans to build an Infiniti-branded version of its new Leaf electric car, but that doesn’t mean the brand’s luxury arm will just get a rebadged version of the functional eco-mobile. According to a report by Automotive News, Infiniti has already rejected several design and engineering proposals for the car because they were too similar to the Leaf itself and didn’t live up to what the Infiniti brand stands for.
In an interview with AN, Nissan/Infiniti product planning boss Larry Dominique stated that, “… it needs to be very unique, not only in exterior design but in interior materials and in terms of its driving performance. It has to accelerate like an Infiniti. It has to be an Infiniti from the standpoint of dynamic performance.”
Currnetly, the Leaf is rated at 107-hp and 207 ft-lbs of torque, but that output number is expected to be increased significantly with advances in battery technology that will be made in the several years before an Infiniti Leaf will be launched. And when it does arrive, according to Dominique, we shoul expect a stylish exterior, luxury interior and more exciting handling as well.
[Source: Automotive News via WorldCarFans]
Infiniti has already made it clear that it will bring an electric car to market and according to recent reports, the luxury EV will be based on Nissan’s upcoming Leaf electric car. Due out around 2014, the Infiniti version will be zero-emissions, but it won’t be slow. By that time, Nissan/Infiniti plans that lithium-ion battery advancements should allow a range similar to the Leaf (roughly 100 miles), while offering improved performance. Currently, the Leaf is rated at 107-hp and 207 ft-lbs of torque.
Understandably, the car will get an all-new body, which should be a sexy as the rest of the luxury lineup. A premium interior is also sure to be included.
In an interview with Top Gear, Infiniti’s UK boss commented that the brand is looking to take a more mass-market approach to electric cars. “We want lots of buyers quickly, so we are making a family car. We have no intention to make a niche EV. Besides, big vehicles are too heavy for today’s batteries, which is why our car will be compact.”
In addition to electric cars, Infiniti will launch its first hybrid model in 2011. The M35 Hybrid uses the G35′s 3.5-liter V6, paired with an electric motor, lithium-ion battery pack and Infiniti’s 7-speed automatic transmission to deliver rear-drive performance, with improved fuel economy. While no engine or fuel economy numbers are available, the 3.5-liter V6 likely makes about 300-hp, while the electric motor adds 67-hp and 199 ft-lbs of torque. This shoudl deliver a marked improvement over the new M37’s 18/26 (city/highway) rating.