Infiniti Sees No Demand For Luxury Electric Cars Before 2020


2012 Infiniti LE Concept

2012 Infiniti LE Concept

Enlarge Photo

The Renault Nissan Alliance has sold more electric cars globally than any other company, more than a quarter million as of June.

But Nissan's Infiniti luxury division has not been a part of that volume--and now it appears it may not be for some time.

Infiniti says it has the capability to launch an electric car (most likely by leaning on parent Nissan).

DON'T MISS: Once More, Infiniti Electric Car Is Killed Off (Or Postponed?)

But the automaker does not feel there is enough consumer demand for an electric car right now, according to Infiniti Middle East chief Juergen Schmitz in a recent interview with Emirates 24/7.

The news site also reports that an electric car may not be in Infiniti's product plans for at least the next few years.

Since displaying the Infiniti LE concept at the 2012 New York Auto Show, brand executives have vacillated about committing to a production luxury electric car.

2012 Infiniti LE Concept

2012 Infiniti LE Concept

Enlarge Photo

The LE was a four-door sedan based on then-current Leaf underpinnings.

It used a 100-kilowatt (134-horsepower) electric motor with 240 pound-feet of torque, and a 24-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.

It also featured wireless inductive charging, using a 50-kW DC charging pad that would be placed on a garage floor.

ALSO SEE: Infiniti LE Concept: Electric Sedan Full Details, NY Auto Show (Apr 2012)

The LE received generally positive reviews for its curvaceous styling, but little more was heard of it until mid-2013, when it was said to be put on hold so Infiniti could focus on higher priorities.

This was reiterated in comments made by Infiniti's then-president Johan de Nysschen at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

The luxury brand must concentrate on higher-volume market segments, he said, before it could look into more specialized vehicles like electric cars.

2012 Infiniti LE Concept

2012 Infiniti LE Concept

Enlarge Photo

Presently, the brand is working to build a more diverse lineup that will increase its appeal globally, particularly in Europe.

It has lacked entries into some key segments--including the fast-growing compact luxury segment, where the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA, among others, have sold well.

The Q30 hatchback unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show will fill that gap, and likely deliver higher sales volumes than any electric car.

Infiniti will launch several new models "right up to 2020," Francois Goupil de Bouille--the brand's vice president for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa--told Emirates 24/7.

MORE: Infiniti Q30 Luxury Compact Hatchback: Frankfurt Auto Show Unveiling

But an electric car won't be among them.

And at this point, any production electric luxury model would likely have to offer at least 200 miles of range, to compete with the Tesla Model 3 expected in 2018 or so.

To get that capacity, first Nissan will launch its second-generation Leaf as a 2017 or 2018 model. Infiniti has other, more pressing priorities.

[hat tip: Brian Henderson]

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