The Infiniti LE concept has been unveiled at the 2012 New York auto show previewing the first electric production vehicle from the Japanese luxury sports manufacturer, due to hit showrooms within two years.
Infiniti Americas vice president Ben Poore promises “most of what you see in the LE concept will become a reality”, including the car’s zero-emission powertrain, telematics and connected services, sharp design and premium interior appointments.
The LE concept is a luxurious mid-size sedan that embraces Infiniti’s distinctive design language and draws inspiration from the brand’s recent Essence and Emerg-e concepts.
The signature double-arch front grille, dramatic shoulder line and crescent-cut rear pillars team with the EV’s slippery profile and aerodynamic-aiding elements, including the intricate aluminium-alloy wheels, side fin spoilers and rear diffuser.
Finished in brushed metallic silver paint, the LE concept sports a solid pearl-effect front grille and blue-illuminated front, rear and side skirts.
The cabin exhibits a comparatively conservative expression of Infiniti’s ‘double wave’ layout, with the designers placing emphasis on optimising comfort and space.
While the design is simple, there’s no shortage of high-tech features, which are headlined by the centre stack’s twin touch screens with cloud computing connectivity, the sculpted shift knob and flowing blue ambient lighting.
Infiniti is yet to confirm the full details of the LE concept’s powertrain, although its immediately available 325Nm of torque promises reasonable acceleration and low-down performance.
The on-board computer helps drivers locate public charge stations and reserve a charge port ahead of their arrival. Even more innovative is the LE concept’s inductive charging system, which allows the lithium-ion battery to be recharged wirelessly simply by parking over an induction pad.
Positioning the car over the pad is made easy by Infiniti’s Intelligent Park Assist with Around View technology, which gives drivers a 360-degree view of their surroundings and helps guide them into position.
Infiniti will launch in Australia later this year, starting with FX SUV and the M sedan in August, and the G coupe and convertible in November/December.
The production car based on the LE concept should become the local division’s first EV, with Infiniti Australia’s Peter Fadeyev revealing it has “every intention to bring it to Australia”. Production will start either late 2013 or early 2014.