Infiniti has officially unveiled the LE concept at the 2012 New York Auto Show, which is not simply another Infiniti concept. Instead the LE concept is a preview of Infiniti’s upcoming electric luxury sedan that will arrive within the next two years.
“In a future that holds an increasing consumption of natural resources, we will advance our sustainable mobility leadership and expand our EV market penetration with new electric vehicles such as the Infiniti LE Concept,” said Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn. “Infiniti is well positioned to deliver the objectives for a sustainable future, relying on our capable, hard-working and motivated team members around the world. We are a challenger.”
As a “production intent” concept, the LE concept is pretty close to what we will see in Infiniti showrooms soon. Rather than create an Infiniti version of the Nissan Leaf, Infiniti placed a lot of emphasis on designing a pure Infiniti first and an electric vehicle second. The LE concept is about the same size as the Infiniti G sedan and Infiniti chose to go with a sedan body style instead of a hatchback.
“The LE Concept’s bold exterior is defined by its underlying high performance. It is first and foremost an Infiniti, born of our philosophy of Inspired Performance. Rather than taking an EV and adding an Infiniti badge, we are taking an Infiniti and removing the tailpipe,” explained Infiniti Americas Vice President Ben Poore. “Infiniti is all about challenging convention, which this vehicle does – proving that luxury at the next level can be both gorgeous and zero emission.”
Part of Infiniti’s focus on creating an electric vehicle that still placed an emphasis on performance is an electric motor that packs 130 horsepower and 240 lb-ft. of torque. The LE concept also has a range of 100 miles, which is a little more than the Nissan Leaf. “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,” explained Poore.
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.
“In keeping with the Infiniti challenger mentality, the LE Concept includes a built-in Wireless Charging System, which we expect to be the first home-based wireless charging system if adapted for the production version,” said Poore. “All you have to do is park your vehicle over the charging pad with no need to connect cables.”
The system’s non-contact charging is via inductive energy flow, with a coil safely encased on the garage floor. The primary coil is connected to the energy source, which then creates a magnetic field that excites electric current in a second coil in the LE Concept. In addition, 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.
“With the Wireless Charging and Intelligent Park Assist, there are no cables, no maintenance and no concern about the perfect alignment of vehicle and charger,” said Poore. “So, on top of no longer having to pump gas, you will no longer have to connect charging cables.”
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