Will Infiniti Build The First Mainstream Electric Sports Car?

2012 Nissan Leaf Nismo RC Concept, New York Auto Show, April 2011

2012 Nissan Leaf Nismo RC Concept, New York Auto Show, April 2011

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By almost anyone’s standards, the first electric-powered sports car of the modern era was the 2009 Tesla Roadster. Built from a modified Lotus Elise platform, the Tesla showed what was possible in terms of both range and performance when cost wasn’t a consideration.

The Tesla Roadster’s $109,000 starting price excludes it from most shopping lists, but there’s clearly a demand for an electric-powered sports car.

Now comes word that Infiniti will show a two-seat, rear-wheel drive electric sports car concept at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. The electric motor will be mounted behind the seats, making it a "mid-motor" design.

Not much is known about the car, but speculation is that it will borrow heavily from the Nissan Leaf Nismo RC racer shown above.

That one-off racer featured a weight-saving carbon-fiber tub, a low and aerodynamic profile, and a mid-motor, rear-wheel drive layout that produced 107 horsepower and 207 foot-pounds of torque.

Infiniti could also choose to produce the car with a range extending generator, and it may look to Formula 1 partner Red Bull Renault for technology relating to a Kinetic Energy Recovery System.

The two-seater will join the already-known Infiniti electric sedan in the company's lineup, with both vehicles expected to hit the market in 2015.

[Autocar, via Motor Authority]


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Comments (5)
  1. Whenever I think of mid-engine, I think of good weight distribution.

    But in an electric car, does it really matter where the motor is? Does mid-motor really matter? Should we talk about mid-battery for electric sports cars?

  2. @John, the most important thing in regards to handling is an even balance of weight front to rear and side to side. The advantage of an electric sports car is that you can design the battery packs to offset the weight of the motor and transmission. As long as you're driving the rear wheels, the performance potential is huge.

  3. Not bad, not good neither, but it's a start. You can already see some stopper faults...that high door panel means that you will have to carry a ladder to get in and out of it. Will the ladder be standard equipment or will you have to buy that separate?

  4. @James, keep in mind the finished product probably won't look a lot like the Leaf Nismo race car, but it will borrow from it. Those tall and wide sills would never make it to production, especially on a luxury sports car.

  5. Thanx for the 4-1-1.
    Point of clarification. It is not the "2009" Tesla Roadster, but the 2008 Tesla Roadster. The first car rolled out in March, 2008. Many of the 2008 model year were delayed for release to 2009, but were still called 2008. The 2010 was released in last half of 2009. There was never a 2009 model year which is an excellent TRIVIA question if you're playing with your poker buddies!

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