Contrary to what you may have heard, Infiniti will one day offer a whole range of plug-in vehicles.
That’s according to Nissan vice president Andy Palmer, who told AutoExpress this week that Nissan’s luxury brand would offer a home to plug-in hybrid and all-electric models.
Asked about the Emerg-E, Infiniti’s plug-in hybrid concept car debuted back in 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show, Palmer hinted that there was space in Infiniti’s future for a super-sexy plug-in hybrid, but wouldn’t commit to the Emerg-E specifically.
“There’s room in the mid-term plan for a halo car of the Emerg-E nature. The design execution still needs some discussion, though. But yes, you can see a halo car in our future,” he confirmed.
Originally designed with twin electric motors — one for each rear wheel — and a turbocharged three cylinder gasoline engine, the Emerg-E concept car was originally promised for production by Infiniti. But Infiniti Boss Johan de Nysschen, a known electric car skeptic, put the brakes on the Emerg-E entering production along with other Infiniti plug-ins.
Palmer meanwhile, says the Emerg-E, while not planned for production, will influence a future halo car, with or without a plug.
“A hybrid fits the Chinese market conditions and portfolio overall best,” he said. “You still have to reach a certain line on a [profitability] graph even if you’re doing a supercar. I would expect it to have some kind of hybridisation.”
Talking of the rest of the Infiniti lineup, Palmer confirmed that plans for an all-electric Infinti were in full swing, despite de Nysschen saying earlier this year that all plug-in projects were ‘on hold indefinitely.’
Leveraging Nissan’s lead in the electric vehicle marketplace, Palmer said a plug-in Infiniti was being developed using Nissan’s next-generation LEAF drivetrain technology. While a date hasn’t been set for Nissan’s next-generation LEAF yet, it is expected to enter the market some time in 2016.
As previously demonstrated on the Infiniti LE all-electric sedan concept car, Infiniti’s future plug-in cars will focus on wireless charging.
“We want contactless charging, and we think we can do that,” Palmer said. “We want the customer to be able to drive home and park the car on a charging mat and have it charged in the morning. We don’t have the smell of diesel on our hands any more.”
While there’s no details on when to expect an all-electric Infiniti, we’d expect Infiniti’s first EV to follow the next-generation LEAF to market. Given most industry insiders expect a next-generation LEAF in 2016, we’d expect the first Infiniti EV some time in 2017.
Palmer’s interview with AutoExpress gave us one more interesting snippet of information too — but focused on Nissan’s sports lineup rather than its Infiniti luxury brand.
Nissan’s ZEOD technology — which debuted this year at the famous 24 hour Le Mans endurance race — will make its way into Nissan’s production cars.
“ZEOD will be our name for plug-in hybrids – the racecar is our poster boy. We set two goals for Le Mans: an electric lap and [achieving a speed of] 300kph. We managed both of those, which ticks all our boxes, and made history.”
In other words, regardless of its brand or segment, Nissan’s future — and perhaps Infiniti’s too — lies firmly with plug-in cars.
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