Infiniti Joins Mazda in the Hybrid-free Zone

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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?

  • Doc423 Well said, Jeff.
  • Urlik My online research seems to indicate it’s an issue with the retaining clips failing and allowing the valve spring retainers to come out. This results in the valve dropping into the cylinder.
  • EBFlex Typical Ford. For those keeping track, Ford is up to 44 recalls for the year. Number one recalled manufacturer (yet again) by a wide margin.
  • Lorie Did they completely forget the damn 2.0 ecoboosts that have the class action lawsuit? Guess those of us that had to pay out of pocket for an engine replacement for a fail at 76k miles are out of luck? I will never buy a Ford again.
  • Mncarguy I remember when the Golf came out and all the car magazines raved about it. I bought an early one in the mid level trim, brown with a beige vinyl interior and a stick. I must have blocked out a lot about that car, because the only thing I remember is one day with my wife and infant in the car, the brakes went out! I could use the parking brake and made it home. There must have been other issues (beside an awful dealer who felt like they were doing you a favor even letting you come in for service) because I swore I'd never buy a VW again. I did get a new Beetle and later a Passat. That's another story!