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Infiniti holds off on EV, for now

Maybe later: Infiniti’s LE concept was unveiled at the New York motor show in 2012 and will be the company’s first pure EV.

LE on hold for the moment as Infiniti waits for better EV technology

19 Jul 2013

ONE of Infiniti’s top executives this week said the ambitious luxury marque will delay the release of its first electric vehicle as it works on advancing the technology.

The company’s head of global planning Andy Palmer this week told Automotive News Europe the company required more time to better develop core EV technology including lithium-ion battery tech and wireless induction charging.

Infiniti’s all-electric LE concept was revealed at last year’s New York motor show and had been scheduled to go into production in 2014/15, with a projected Australian berth on the cards shortly after. This will be pushed back, although it is unclear by how much.

Mr Palmer told the publication that a more suitable wireless induction system than what is currently available on the market is yet to be found, while a lack of regulatory compliance has also slowed progress on development of the vehicle.

Infiniti is also planning to introduce updated lithium-ion battery technology that would boost the range of the electric vehicle, while keeping costs down.

Mr Palmer would not confirm when the LE would make it into production, but said “it’s still within our mid-term plan.”

At the time of its global debut, Infiniti said the LE would use a more advanced version of parent company Nissan’s Leaf powertrain as the underpinnings for the vehicle.

Nissan has received wide praise for the EV technology used in the Leaf, which has gone on to become the top-selling mass produced electric vehicle in the world as well as taking out a number of prestigious awards, including 2011 World Car of the Year.

Infiniti touted the tech credentials of the mid-size LE at the 2012 New York show, including wireless charging by inductive energy, and the ability of the car to park itself over the cableless charging point in the garage floor using Nissan’s park assist system and GPS.

Design cues from the LE concept have found their way to the production version of Infiniti’s Q50 mid-size contender that is primed for an Australian launch in the final quarter of this year.

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