After debuting three concepts previewing its upcoming electric vehicles, Infiniti is filling in the blanks by revealing technical details about those cars’ electric powertrains.
Infiniti is developing a platform that’ll support both an all-electric drivetrain and what Infiniti is referring to as a gas (petrol)-generated EV, the luxury brand’s version of Nissan’s e-Power drivetrain.
The latter aims to offer the rapid and refined acceleration of a high-performance electric vehicle while allaying buyers’ concerns about range anxiety.
To that end, it’ll use a high-discharge, low-capacity battery pack that’ll be recharged constantly by a 1.5-litre three-cylinder “generator” using Infiniti’s variable compression ratio technology.
Unlike a hybrid, the internal combustion engine will never directly power the wheels and unlike a plug-in hybrid, there’ll be no charging port at all. Power will be delivered to all four wheels through a pair of high-output electric motors, one situated on each axle.
The petrol-backed Infiniti EVs will use a smaller battery pack than the pure EVs, with a capacity of between 3.5 and 5.1kWh. The 1.5-litre generator will be located towards the front of the vehicle. Depending on the model, total system output will be between 185kW and 320kW, more powerful models capable of reaching 100km/h in around 4.5 seconds.
There’s no word yet on how large the battery pack will be in the pure EVs or how powerful they’ll be, nor has Infiniti released any information on the expected electric range of each powertrain.
Using one platform for both electrified and pure-electric models allows Infiniti to share components and keep development costs down. Infiniti is also touting the petrol-generated EV as a “bridge to electrification”, appealing to buyers who aren’t yet ready to embrace an all-electric vehicle.
Car & Driver reports Infiniti shared some of its product plans at an event celebrating its 30-year anniversary. Nissan’s luxury brand will introduce five new models in the next three years.
In addition to the upcoming QX55 and an unspecified ICE-powered vehicle, there’ll be an all-electric SUV based on the QX Inspiration concept and two sedans, based on the Q Inspiration and Qs Inspiration concepts, that’ll use the e-Power drivetrain.
One of these will serve as Infiniti’s flagship sedan and as a de facto replacement for the Q70, which is being withdrawn from markets like the US for 2020, Car & Driver reports.
There’s also a new design language coming to the brand. It’s being referred to as ‘powerful serenity’ and will be marked by the use of “expansive, muscular surfaces” and clean lines inspired by origami.
With the different packaging requirements of EVs, Infiniti also plans to offer more spacious, lounge-inspired interiors.
Infiniti says its Qs Inspiration and QX Inspiration concept vehicles preview the new design language, which will also include an interpretation of the concepts’ grille outline.
The luxury brand could have had an electric vehicle a lot sooner. At the 2012 New York motor show, Infiniti debuted the LE concept. Though it was based on the Nissan Leaf, it featured unique styling inside and out.
Infiniti leadership vacillated on confirming the LE's release for over a year before it was revealed in 2015 the LE project had been quietly shelved.