Leaf-based EV will lead an Infiniti push towards hybird and electric cars; hot G Cabrio also shown
27 September 2010

Nissan’s premium brand Infiniti will launch an upmarket electric car – based on the Leaf – in 2013.

Although it shares the same basic battery technology, the new Infiniti will have a completely different body and interior to the Nissan hatchback. Company sources call it “the first luxury EV” and promise it will also have much better performance than the Leaf.

Styling work on the model is at an early stage, according to Shiro Nakamura, Nissan’s design supremo. However, this illustration does give a clue as to the basic styling theme, which has already been established.

The new EV model is part of a ‘CO2 strategy’ that will see the majority of Infiniti sales made up of either hybrids or pure electric vehicles by the end of the decade.

Although the company won’t be specific, it’s estimated that around 70 per cent Infinitis will be powered by hybrid transmissions, around 15-20 per cent will be pure electric vehicles and just 10-15 per cent powered by internal combustion engines.

Next spring, the company will launch a hybrid version of the new M-series saloon. The M35h will emit under 170g/km of CO2 and will have the capability to cruise at up to 50mph on electric power alone.

The M35h should also be able to travel for around 12 miles on pure electric power, a move that anticipates the emergence of zero-emission zones in some cities by 2020.

Infiniti will expand its showing in the booming compact premium segment with a new model due before 2104. Aimed at rivals, such as the Audi A3, the new car’s styling is described by insiders as ‘completely different’ to the class norm.

This week at the Paris show, the company will also reveal the Infiniti Performance Line G Cabrio Concept. Based on the G Cabrio, the concept gets a 343bhp/276lb ft version of the standard V6 engine which allows a 0-62mph time under six seconds.

The chassis gets 10 per cent stiffer springs, recalibrated dampers and a lower ride height. On the outside, it is distinguished by a more extravagant body kit. Infiniti is expected to introduce IPL as an option on most of its cars in the near future.


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