Infiniti’s Electric Plans Put on Hold
Infiniti is making headlines with cars like the GT-R powered 2014 Q50 Eau Rouge and 2014 Q60 coupe, but before all the performance machines, before Johan de Nysschen and Andy Palmer jumped ship, and before the new naming scheme, the luxury division of Nissan was working on the LE concept. A more luxurious version of the then-new Nissan Leaf. Over the years since the debut of the LE, Infiniti has moved its focus to growing the brand with more aggressive and better selling models leaving the electric concept to gather dust.
Now almost three years since it was introduced, USA Today has published a story saying that the project is now officially off the table. The news came from the preview event of the Q60 concept reveal at the Detroit Auto Show. Michael Bartsch, Infiniti’s vice president for the Americas, said the company needed “to be a little pragmatic.” A luxury version of the Leaf just isn’t a volume seller like Infiniti needs.
That doesn’t mean an electric powered Inifniti is completely out of the question, but expect Nissan to wait for improved battery tech, and expect the new car to be a bit larger to better compete with the upcoming 2017 Tesla Model 3. For now though, just expect more exciting volume models to come from the Japanese luxury brand.
Click past the jump to read more about Infiniti’s electric plans.
Why it matters
While a production version of the LE concept would do great things to boost Infiniti’s emissions standings, it wouldn’t be a great seller and wouldn’t help drive forth the brands identity of passion and performance. Infiniti has only just begun to branch out into Europe, and cars like the new Q60 coupe are exciting and interesting, building up brand image and desire. Those cars will also sell in relatively large quantities, giving Infiniti extra cash to do interesting and different things with.
The idea of an EV from Infiniti is not dead. Tesla proved that a luxury EV is a viable option as a model, Nissan and Infiniti just don’t have the money, tech or brand cache to make it happen right now.
The Infiniti LE is a luxury sedan based on the running gear of Nissan’s Leaf electric car. It uses a lithium-ion polymer battery mated to an electric motor that produces 240 pound-feet of torque for propulsion. Like the Leaf it is based on, the LE would be good for less than 100 miles on a full charge making it less appealing to most buyers when compared to Tesla’s nearly 300-mile range for the Model S and upcoming Model 3.
Source: USA Today