Infiniti LE Concept Electric Sedan: New York Auto Show Video

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Infiniti LE Concept at New York Auto Show, April 2012

Infiniti LE Concept at New York Auto Show, April 2012

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The Infiniti LE Concept was one of the few pure concept cars at last week's New York Auto Show media days, a design study that wasn't a production model but just an indication of how a future car might evolve.

In reality, though, Infiniti hasn't bothered to disguise the fact that the LE Concept is a pretty close approximation of a production car that will arrive in the luxury maker's lineup within two years.

The concept Infiniti LE is an all-electric vehicle, the first from Nissan's upscale arm, that's large enough to be called a mid-size sedan.

It rides on the platform of the Nissan Leaf now in production, using the same 24-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack in the floorpan, and will almost surely be built on the same assembly line in Smyrna, Tennessee, where Leaf production begins this December.

But the LE Concept has a more powerful electric motor driving the front wheels--100 kilowatts (134 horsepower), rather than the Leaf's 80-kW (107-hp) motor.

That may not sound like a lot, but the concept car's motor puts out 240 lb-ft of torque, and Infiniti mentioned its acceleration and performance a number of times, so we'd expect it to deliver at least somewhat spirited driving.

One unusual feature shown on the LE is the "wireless" inductive charging. If it makes the transition into the production car, it'll be the first application of this technology in any mass-produced electric car.

The video above shows our walkaround tour of the LE Concept, from its lit crystal grille to the wireless charging pad sticking out behind the car.

Have a look at the video, and let us know what you think in the Comments below.


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Comments (19)
  1. Not bad a all. Nice to see no more plug-ins. What label is your rag going to pin on this car since it doesn't have a plug-in or a gas motor? You can put those magnetic slates in every parking space and not worry about anyone backing into them and tearing them down. Much better idea above those charging stations that look like gas pumps and cost a fortune to install. Nice going Nissan!

  2. "rag"?

    as an online publication only, I have yet to figure out how to use it as a rag.

    You need to select a more appropriate pejorative.

  3. Great video and rundown of the Infiniti LE.

  4. @ John Voelcker, do you think that the inductive charging pad will be durable enough to survive being run over by the car? I ask this question because my garage doors are on the side of my house which requires me to turn into my garage, I was wondering if I clipped it or completely ran over the pad, would I damage it.

  5. It's a good question, but I suspect what I saw was more of a show mockup than a functioning prototype. They're clearly aware that being driven over is just ONE of the things that could happen to the product if it's meant to live on the garage floor.

    I do wonder about installation, though--do you have to trench the concrete for high-V wires? At least hanging a conventional 240-Volt Level 2 station on a wall is relatively simple, but we'll have to see what this requires.

  6. Thank you for the reply John. I think this may be a case of what works best in individual garages, in my case a wall mounted charger would be best. I guess I'll just have to wait and see everything in its final production form.

  7. A weak effort when compared to its supposed competition - the Tesla Model S.

  8. The auto positioning is a neat concept. They should make it so you can pull or back to your driveway then hit the auto-park function. Your car will then back into your garage for you. This feature might be a delight-er that would sell to people like my mom. I had to hang danger tennis balls in her garage. If she touched a ball she was 6 inches from hitting something. (Needed this even though she would pull in forward)

  9. Actually without the auto parking feature able to initiate from outside the garage the inducting pad wouldn't be a convenient feature. You'd get tired of pulling in (even partway), stopping, initiating the auto park then waiting for it to position you. You'd just get out and plug it in. If you're outside the garage the auto-park would effectively replace the garage door button press.

  10. Is it just me, or should the paddle be the thing that moves around to find the right spot under the car.

  11. Your right, they are making something simple into something complicated. The whole point of this was so you could simply pull over the charger and charge, but this ads autonomous parking to achieve optimal charging. I'm all for high tech gadgets but I can't stand over use of technology just to replace simple physical interaction, like just plugging the car in.

  12. Shut up and take my money! How much is it expected to sell for?

  13. I heard it would sell for around $49,000

  14. Pardon me, maybe closer to $45k,

  15. Its range with a 24Kw/hr Li/ion battery pack will be 75-90 miles just like the Leaf, and it 100kilowatt Motor will be much weaker than the Tesla Model S motor at 300kW, which converts to 402 hp, and is capable of putting out 306 lb-ft of torque. In other words no real competition to the Tesla Model S. Does sustainable luxury mean comprimised Luxuxry? 100 mile max like the Leaf? I would only consider it if the price is significantly lower than the price for the Tesla model S. The inductive charging pad is a nice idea however and it would save you a step on having to plug in the car. Simply park the car in the garage and its charging. I wonder if the inductive charging pad will allow for simular charge times as plugging it in?

  16. Considering that the cheapest Tesla Model S that is available (60kWh) starts at $79k, this care IS significantly cheaper.

  17. The Infinity LE, the first electric car that will come with "wireless" inductive charging and the car has automatic parking assist that will automatically park the car over the charging pad.

  18. Nice

  19. There might now be a feint glimpse of the obvious - a premium branded version of an advanced power train equipped car needs to perform better than its mass market sibling.

    So, Infinity ought not merely to make a Leaf with extra gadgets and upscale cabin, but more batteries so it has a greater range. Otherwise, the luxury version will have a shorter range, being heavier and with more tyre drag (weight and width increased).

    Toyota has fallen into this trap with their HS hybrid, which is not as efficient as the Prius - so it makes little real world sense.

    The most important feature of full or partially electrically powered cars is range - every other consideration is secondary to this. The problem is that range costs real money.

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