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Paris show: Infiniti mystery car might be EV

eLEctric on: The fins of this grille appear too closely spaced to provide adequate ventilation for an internal combustion engine radiator, suggesting Infiniti's new model will not have one.

Electric Infiniti LE could be on track for 2014 unveiling at Paris motor show


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21 Aug 2014

INFINITI'S long-awaited electric-vehicle might be another step closer, with Nissan's luxury car branch this week releasing a teaser image of what appears to be a closed grille on a new model.

If it comes to fruition – likely at next month's Paris motor show – an Infiniti electric car could spell good news for Nissan Australia's casting plant that makes and exports large numbers of aluminium parts for the company's EVs.

So far, those cars include the Nissan Leaf and e-NV200 van, but Infiniti has long proposed its own electric-powered passenger car, called LE in concept guise.

The close-up picture of the mysterious model's grille appears to have no air ventilation – a common feature of electric cars that do not require an engine radiator.

The image is accompanied by just two sentences, saying cryptically: “Style and substance that push any preconceived limits. Soon, Infiniti will share a vision – its soul – on a scale not seen before from the company.”

The all-electric Leaf-based Infiniti LE concept surfaced at the 2012 New York motor show, along with a prediction that it would arrive in production form in two years, which fits with a 2014 unveiling.

Back then, Infiniti said the BMW 3 Series-sized sedan EV would have self-docking cordless-charging technology and a super-slippery drag-coefficient of 0.25.

Last year Infiniti reported a delay in LE development, saying the battery and wireless charging technology was not ready, but this week's teaser image might mean the design at least is nearing completion.

Nissan's Dandenong South casting-plant, southeast of Melbourne, produces inverter cooling jackets used by Nissan’s electric models.

The factory received a major upgrade last year, with a new, more efficient furnace that cut energy consumption in half and secured the long-term viability of what looks likely to become the last remaining Australian factory run by a major global car-maker.

It produces more than two million aluminium castings for Nissan plants in Japan, Thailand, Mexico and the United States.

Apart from the Leaf parts, castings include transmission housings, clutch housings, rear drive housings, cylinder heads and oil pan assemblies for vehicles such as the Navara, Dualis, Pathfinder, Murano and X-Trail.

Breakthrough casting technology applied at the plant was developed in Australia by the CSIRO, which was made possible by a $3.3 million government grant.

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