Infiniti today unveiled its dramatic new Infiniti LE Concept, a near-production version of the performance luxury brand's first zero emission luxury sedan.
Making its world debut during a press conference at the 2012 New York International Auto Show at New York's Javits Center, the Infiniti LE Concept combines an advanced electric vehicle drivetrain and wireless charging system with signature Infiniti luxury style and Inspired Performance. A production version of the LE Concept is expected to reach Infiniti showrooms in near-similar form within the next two years.
"Infiniti is about a unique fusion of performance and hospitality, and a distinct vision that challenges convention. Part of that vision, part of our challenger mindset, is a belief that the future of luxury is sustainable luxury," said Carlos Ghosn, president and chief executive officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. "No other luxury brand has the corporate EV experience, the advanced battery technology, or the sustainable product credibility to claim a leadership position in zero emission luxury. No one except Infiniti."
Among the key features and innovations of the Infiniti LE Concept are:
- Luxury sedan style, combining signature Infiniti design cues with EV aerodynamic efficiency
- Exceptional acceleration and re-acceleration, providing a new level of luxury driving experience
- Leading-edge compact Lithium-ion battery technology
- Smart hospitality, featuring a quiet, luxurious Infiniti interior and next-gen Infiniti Connection, Infiniti Personal Assistant and EV connected services
- Innovative, intuitive home-based Wireless Charging System with Intelligent Park Assist
About the Infiniti LE Concept
From inception, the LE Concept has been designed as a pure Infiniti, rather than as an electric vehicle with luxury appointments. It starts with an advanced luxury styled sedan body, not a converted hatchback – its bold exterior defined by its underlying high performance. The LE Concept's dramatic exterior blends distinctive Infiniti design cues, such as its double-arch grille and crescent-cut rear-pillar, with EV aerodynamic efficiency to create a sleek, emotional silhouette. The large front grille features a solid finisher and a charge port hidden under the illuminated center Infiniti emblem.
The Infiniti LE Concept's compact EV platform maximizes interior space by placing the batteries under the passenger compartment floor. This positioning helps provide a low vehicle center of gravity for enhanced handling and maximizes trunk room, without compromising front or rear seat passenger legroom or comfort. Beyond its advanced packaging, the real beauty of the interior is its "smart hospitality" – combining a luxurious Infiniti environment with next-generation instrumentation, driver interface and connectivity.
Infiniti-EV meters combine modern digital display and timeless analog gauges, creating an atmosphere of both exclusivity and futuristic design. The center cluster features an innovative connected twin display powered by an Intel Atom™ processor. The elegant, bolstered seat and door trim design also comes from traditional roots, inspired by the "Eriashi" (collar) of a Japanese kimono. The seats are covered in a suede-and-mesh fabric with violet accents, and semi-aniline leather sides.
Targeting "impressive city and highway EV acceleration," the engineering team behind the LE Concept's e-powertrain sought a silent, smooth response for both accelerating from a start and re-accelerating, such as merging onto freeways or changing lanes. Torque of 240 lb-ft is instantly available immediately at all times. The Infiniti LE Concept's battery system is a proven laminated 24 kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) design with a ChaDeMo DC50kW quick charger.
"A luxury car for a new generation of sustainable luxury buyers must not compromise on performance. Buyers want 'green,' but won't settle for any aspect of the driving experience being less than that of their current luxury vehicles," said Ghosn.
The Infiniti LE Concept's connectivity to the outside world includes the next generation of Infiniti Connection features, such as Infiniti Personal Assistant 24-hour concierge service, navigation, and POI search.
In terms of charging, the Infiniti LE Concept is equipped to utilize an integrated charging port, a DC Fast Charge option and an advanced Wireless Charging System, which is expected to be the first home-based wireless charging system if adapted for the production version.
The system's non-contact charging is via inductive energy flow, with a coil safely encased on the garage floor. The high-frequency AC-3.3 kW charging, controlled by the twin display or smartphone, is safe for children and pets and can be installed easily in a home garage.
In addition, taking inspired technology a step beyond, the Infiniti LE Concept features an Intelligent Park Assist with Around View™ Monitor to easily align the vehicle in the proper position over the wireless charging coil. The system uses e-steering, with full forward and backward capability, along with a 360-degree view of the surrounding area. It also bookmarks the parking place in GPS so that once the vehicle enters the garage, for example, the navigation system will automatically switch to Around View™ Monitor and the system is ready to park the car.
"A concept today, but a reality soon, the Infiniti LE Concept and its wireless charging system means that on top of no longer having to pump gas, you will no longer have to connect charging cables," concluded Ghosn. "In a rapidly changing world, Infiniti is well ahead of the game."