Infiniti Joins Mazda in the Hybrid-free Zone

infiniti joins mazda in the hybrid free zone

While popularity varies among brands, hybrids remain a tough sell in today’s marketplace, despite half of all automaker-produced literature going towards the touting of their environmental cred. Still, few automakers stand apart from the crowd by not offering a green vehicle of some sort, even if it’s a low-volume, rarely-heard-about offering aimed at satisfying the EPA.

Infiniti, which recently deep-sixed its Q70 Hybrid (not long after jettisoning the QX60 Hybrid), has now done the same with the gas-electric version of the Q50 midsize sedan. It’s a confusing product time at Infiniti, with new models arriving as others depart. This isn’t the end of green vehicles for Nissan’s luxury marque, however. Hybrid power will return, just not in the same form.

Green Car Reports broke the OEM-confirmed news late last week. With the Q50 Hybrid discontinued, Infiniti finds itself among a small number of automakers without an electrified vehicle.

We singled out Mazda in the headline, though Subaru also makes the grade — at least, until the Crosstrek plug-in hybrid appears later this year in certain U.S. states. Given the Q50 Hybrid’s low profile, sales couldn’t have been too hot. And nor was the Q50 Hybrid hot stuff when it came to technology. The model kept its 3.5-liter V6, supplementing its power with that of an electric motor. Two-wheel drive models earned a 29 mpg rating on the EPA’s combined cycle.

The electrification strategy outlined by Infiniti last year promises a slew of hybrid and electric vehicles over the next five years, but a bit of Nissan tech already in use in Japan will serve as the backbone of the hybrid effort. We’ve written about it before: e-Power. It’s a hybrid system where a downsized gasoline generation runs constantly, but doesn’t ever power the drive wheels.

Earlier this year, Philippe Klein, the automaker’s chief planning officer, said the technology would make it to the U.S. for use in higher-end vehicles that can more easily absorb the cost of the system. e-Power debuted in the low-cost, Japanese-market Nissan Versa Note hatchback. Before it appears in U.S.-market Infinitis, however, company engineers must first beef up the system to handle heavier vehicles.

[Image: © Corey Lewis/TTAC]

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  • MoDo MoDo on Sep 25, 2018

    I was at an Infiniti dealer show back in 2014 and they showed a Q60 sedan that was supposed to be coming out along with the Q60 coupe (G35) but the sedan is still absent. Looked better than the Q50.

  • Sportyaccordy Sportyaccordy on Sep 25, 2018

    That's a shame. I love the looks and size of the Q50, but the regular VQ has that terrible gas mileage, and the Mercedes 2.0T is awful. The hybrid was the best of both worlds. I was hoping they'd improve it by swapping the VQ for that 2.0T. For a while the hybrid was the performance car of the line.... a mid 13 second quarter mile and 30MPG combined. Who can hate on that?

  • Kurkosdr Someone should tell the Alfa Romeo people that they are a badge owned by a French company now.The main reason PSA bought FiatChrysler is that PSA has the technology to enter the luxury market but customers don't want a French luxury car for psychological/mindshare reasons. FiatChrysler has the opposite problem: they have lots of still-respected brands but not always the technology to make good cars. Not to say that if FCA has a good platform, it won't be used in a PSA car.In other words, if those Alfa Romeo buds think that they will remain a silo with their own bespoke platforms and exclusive sheet metal, they are in for a shock. This is just the start.
  • Arthur Dailey For the Hornet less expensive interior materials/finishings, decontent just a little, build it in North America and sell it for less and everyone should be happy with both the Dodge and the Alfa.
  • Bunkie I so wanted to love this car back in the day. At the time I owned a GT6+ and I was looking for something more modern. But, as they say, this car had *issues*. The first of which was the very high price premium for the V8. It was a several thousand dollar premium over the TR-7. The second was the absolutely awful fuel economy. That put me off the car and I bought a new RX-7 which, despite the thirsty rotary, still got better mileage and didn’t require premium fuel. I guess I wasn’t the only one who had this reaction because, two years later, I test-drove a leftover that had a $2,000 price cut. I don’t remember being impressed, the RX-7 had spoiled me with how easy it was to own. The TR-8 didn’t feel quick to me and it felt heavy. The first-gen RX was more in line with the idea of a light car that punched above its weight. I parted ways with both the GT6+ and the RX7 and, to this day, I miss them both.
  • Fred Where you going to build it? Even in Texas near Cat Springs they wanted to put up a country club for sport cars. People complained, mostly rich people who had weekend hobby farms. They said the noise would scare their cows. So they ended up in Dickinson, where they were more eager for development of any kind.
  • MaintenanceCosts I like the styling of this car inside and out, but not any of the powertrains. Give it the 4xe powertrain - or, better yet, a version of that powertrain with the 6-cylinder Hurricane - and I'd be very interested.