Infiniti's 'Luxury Leaf' Electric Car Will Wait For Inductive Charging

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It's been a few years since Infiniti confirmed it was working on a luxury sedan based on the Nissan Leaf, but little extra information has emerged since then.

Autocar reports the firm is still working on such a vehicle--it's just waiting for inductive charging technology to become commonplace, first.

Infiniti's luxury electric vehicle would be a compact-sized sedan, based on the same platform and running gear as the Nissan Leaf--Nissan being Infiniti's parent company.

Previewed in the 2012 Infiniti LE Concept, the all-electric sedan would be far more dramatically styled than the Leaf, with more aggressive, flowing lines.

The interior too would be more luxurious and less esoteric than that in the Leaf, to suit typically more conservative luxury buyers.

But for Infiniti, inductive charging would be the car's most important feature.

"The whole concept of not having to couple up cables to a plug socket, dragging them on the ground and on you as you go, is in keeping with luxury motoring," Infiniti boss Andy Palmer told Autocar.

"It is this technology we want to shine a light on, so while there is no world standard on methods, the roll-out will be dependent on region."

The company wants all automakers to develop their inductive technology on an open-source basis, to make sure vehicles are compatible with all systems--and one expects, to reduce development costs.

It isn't clear when Infiniti's electric sedan will debut. Originally, the car was planned for 2015--but if the company is waiting on inductive charging to really take off, a true launch date is anyone's guess.


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Comments (17)
  1. Is it just me or does that exterior remind you of a current model Hyundai ?

    Mind you that interior looks awesome !

  2. Sounds like an excuse. I think the real reason is that the LEAF sales are much less than expected meaning an Infiniti EV is perhaps premature. A delay might be a wise business choice, if disappointing for us EV fans.

  3. Agreed, this car's success hardly depends on inductive charging. For an upmarket brand like Infiniti the real issue is range. A luxury vehicle with city car range doesn't sound like a winning concept. My guess would be that what Nissan is really waiting for is improved battery technology.

  4. They should wait for a 40kWh battery with active thermal management and at least 50A charging.

  5. Inductive charging is ridiculous anyway, you have to get it lined up just right and even then it's not as efficient as plugging-in. And how hard is plugging-in seriously, this is just Infiniti's way of delaying the car because in reality inductive charging is just a goofy gadget it's not so important that it should hold up the launch of a new car. Tesla didn't delay the launch of the Model S to wait for their first Super Charger stations to be installed.

  6. Inductive charging would be a pretty killer proposition. That's the only thing Infinity got right.

    But the idea of waiting for inductive charging reeks of desperation. Tesla is going to eat their lunch and the infinity brand will be wasted.

  7. A killer proposition in theory, but much greater cooperation between automakers, infrastructure providers, governments globally is required for inductive chargers to become reality.

    Look at J1772 (US), Type 2 (EU), & Tesla plugs… all can supply a 220V AC connection. (more complex OEM specifics when CHAdeMO, SuperCharger, CCS1, & CCS2 for DC charging considered).

    Inductive charging like AC charging requires agreement on coil frequency (higher than plugged), coil size, min./max. power supplied, and wireless communication protocols. Since both power & communication are wireless they need regional regularly approval (FCC) & verification that don't interfere with other wireless devices.

    Costs, plus no existing compatibility are a big hurtle!

  8. not as tough as you might think. you simply park it "in the zone" and the car will make the adjustments on its own. inductive charging will be cool no doubt but it still has to have the regular public charging options. the range wont be long enough for the extended driving options

  9. The real reason for the delay is that they know that a "supped-up" Leaf still can't even come close to comparing with a Tesla Model S. They need more time to catch up.

  10. Nissan Leaf SL has an MSRP of $35k. I imagine this Infiniti will be $10k more? For an extra $15k you're in Model S territory with a 60kw battery.

    Folks that have 40-45k to spend will realize the better value with the Model S.

  11. expect a price adjustment for all Nissan EV products. we have not even come close to seeing the result of onshore manufacturing and volume pricing due to higher sales. granted this means getting the bugs out of the TN plant and continuing to increase sales. If Nissan gets to a 5,000+ sales plateau for the LEAF, that will drive prices down for BOTH lines

  12. Sounds pathetic. Cables are a hindrance to the introduction of a luxury sedan? So how does the Tesla charge? By divine intervention? Most likely they realize 75 miles is not good enough, and are unwilling to go the 60KwH route, so they are waiting for higher density cells.

  13. The added $3000-$7000+ to enable inductive charging for the Infiniti LE would be better applied to increasing battery capacity to 32 kWh – 42 kWh size over a LEAF-size 24 kWh pack. Costs are comparable to adding inductive charging, but LE would have real-world range of 100—150miles (160—240km).

    Note: 3.3-7 kW/h AC charges are currently workable for less than 30 kWh battery packs; but over 30 kWh packs require 25-50 kW/h to keep charge times in 1-2 hour range (1-2 miles/min of charge capacity). Inductive charging above 10 kW/h rate is something not readily demonstrated to date.

    :(. Infiniti LE EV sounds destined to remain only a Concept EV at this point. Left wondering what the NxtGen Nissan/Infiniti passenger EV will be after 1Gen LEAF?

  14. I prefer NOT to pay $2k for a solution that is less efficient (potentially 15% additional loss) so you can save 20 seconds plugging something in directly...

    Not to mention the cost of inductive charging station...

  15. inductive charging has been shown to be MUCH more efficient than that. the positioning of the car is the key here and the LE will NOT rely on the driver. you simply drive the car using an onscreen guide that allows a reasonable target to hit. you don't have to rely on your sight (or lack of) simply follow the guide. you only need to get close. the car will do the rest

  16. Yes, I am on board with the consensus here. Give me this general styling, inside and out, at least 150 miles of real range AND 0-60 mph in even 7.0 seconds at perhaps $43,000 and it would be tempting.

    The BMW i3, with perhaps a true 90 miles range EV, but with another 90 miles on the REX option and IF it can be bought, decently equipped for around $50,000 will be a good test of the "premium brand" impact on this market.

  17. Expanding the battery charging networks to include battery swapping similar to Renault's Better Place (See article) might be an alternate way.

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