When the wraps came off what is still called an “LE Concept,” a stunningly styled sedan emerged. It has sexy curves similar to those of the Emerg-e range extender that was shown in Geneva. A car like this, backed by the production prowess of Japan’s second-largest automaker, should worry prospective producers of all-electric luxury sedans.
Nissan’s Leaf provides the electric Infiniti with the all-important economies of scale. However, Nissan’s “Division General Manager of Exploratory and Advanced Product,” Francois Bancon, denies hackneyed intimations that the LE will just be a rebodied Leaf:
“The LE Concept is designed from the ground up as an Infiniti, not a re-badged Nissan. There will potentially be some shared components, but they will be configured specifically for use in the Infiniti EV.”
Range and performance are still kept under wraps. “It will drive, feel and perform like an Infiniti,” says a sibylline Andy Palmer, who just recently was put in charge of the Nissan’s Global Infiniti unit. Name, production details, price are likewise kept secret.
Good looking as it is, this is not a show car. They call it a ‘production intent’ concept, a car they actually want to produce. Folks at Infiniti are positive that the yet unnamed electric Infiniti will be launched in 2014. Palmer says it is a global car that first “will be available in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.” He did not want to comment on China, understandable, given the in-flux state of Chinese production for Nissan’s luxury marque.
The LE will most likely be the first plug-in which you don’t have to plug in. In addition to a regular corded charger and a DC fast charge option, the LE can be charged without wires. Infiniti’s U.S. VP Ben Poore explains:
“The LE Concept includes a built-in wireless charging system, we expect it to be the first home-based wireless charging system. All you have to do is park your vehicle over the charging pad with no need to connect cables.”
This is a truly exciting system: Through a coil in the garage floor, a magnetic field is created. This excites an electric current in a second coil in the LE, which then charges the batteries. Infiniti promises that the high-frequency charging is safe for children and pets, and can be installed easily in a home garage. The batteries will sit under the passenger compartment floor, delivering a low center of gravity, a lot of trunk space, and room for the high net-worth legs.