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Infiniti finally jumps into EVs

Electric dream: Infiniti’s Q Inspiration concept at the Detroit show might be powered by a petrol engine, but it looks set to get electric and range-extender hybrid powertrains under a major electrification expansion by Nissan’s luxury brand.

Half of all Infiniti vehicle sales to be electrified by 2025, says CEO

Infiniti logo17 Jan 2018

By RON HAMMERTON

NISSAN’S luxury brand, Infiniti, has finally announced that it is taking the plunge into electric vehicles, a full eight years after parent company Nissan helped to pioneer the concept with the Leaf.

Talk of Infiniti electric cars has been around since at least 2012 when the company showed the Leaf-based LE concept at the New York motor show. That car was off and on for several years before being shelved indefinitely in 2015.

Now, Infiniti chief executive officer Hiroto Saikawa has announced at the Automotive News World Congress at this week’s Detroit motor show that Infiniti expects launch its first pure electric vehicle in 2021.

He said the company was also preparing to launch e-Power range-extender powertrains that have a small petrol engine that charges a battery to power an electric motor, eliminating the need for an external power source.

Between the all-electric and e-Power vehicles, Infiniti plans to ramp up sales of electrified vehicles to more than half of its global sales by 2025, he said.

Mr Saikawa’s announcement came just as Infiniti’s beautiful Q Inspiration concept car won the award for the best concept in the Detroit show’s EyesOn Design awards.

While the mid-sized Q Inspiration sedan features a petrol engine with world-first variable compression technology, Infiniti hinted that it might also offer electrified powertrains in such a vehicle.

“Customers can expect beautifully designed vehicles, like the Q Inspiration concept shown in Detroit, with a whole new level of electrified driving performance as an evolution of Infiniti’s current powertrains,” it said in a statement after Mr Saikawa’s speech.

Infiniti has offered conventional hybrid cars such as the M35h and Q70 for years, while also playing around with plug-in range extender concept cars such as the swoopy Emerg-e sports coupe in 2012.

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