The electric-car headlines at last week's Detroit Auto Show clearly belonged to the Chevrolet Bolt concept, a subcompact 200-mile electric car.

But another news item is just now coming to light: A representative for Nissan's luxury brand, Infiniti, says the carmaker has shelved plans to offer a battery-electric model.

DON'T MISS: Infiniti LE Electric Luxury Sedan To Be Built After All, With Higher Range (Jul 2014)

According to USA Today yesterday, Infiniti's vice president for the Americas, Michael Bartsch, called the move "pragmatic."

Ending or postponing development on an electric luxury sedan would allow Infiniti to focus on segments with far greater volume.

2016 Infiniti Q60 Concept live photos, 2015 Detroit Auto Show

2016 Infiniti Q60 Concept live photos, 2015 Detroit Auto Show

The report suggests that one of those segments is luxury coupes, where the brand's Detroit unveiling, the Q60 Concept, would fit. But another, far higher-volume segment is compact luxury sedans.

Infiniti currently has no U.S. offering to rival the very successful new Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA four-doors, and an entry in that segment would likely sell in far higher volumes than a battery-electric luxury sedan.

ALSO SEE: 2015 Infiniti LE 'Luxury Leaf' Sedan Put On Hold Indefinitely (Jul 2013)

The first hint of a forthcoming all-electric car from Nissan's luxury brand came in the form of a concept car unveiled at the 2012 New York Auto Show.

The Infiniti LE Concept was a curvaceous compact four-door sedan using the running gear of the more prosaic Leaf hatchback.

2012 Infiniti LE Concept

2012 Infiniti LE Concept

It featured plug-free inductive charging, and an automated positioning system that would let the LE move itself to ensure it sat directly above the charging pad on a garage floor.

The LE Concept received good reviews for its styling and interior, but little more was heard of it until word came in mid-2013 that it had been put on hold to allow the brand to focus on higher priorities.

MORE: Infiniti LE Concept Electric Sedan: New York Auto Show Video (Apr 2012)

Johan de Nysschen, then president of Infiniti, made the same case then that Bartsch cited last week: To grow and flourish globally, Infiniti must have entries in high-volume segments before it can look at adding specialized vehicles like an electric sedan.

De Nysschen's tenure at Infiniti lasted a mere two years (he now runs Cadillac).

2012 Infiniti LE Concept

2012 Infiniti LE Concept

Then came news last summer that the electric Infiniti might be back in the product plan, but with a range far greater than the 75 or 85 miles it would have had using standard Leaf running gear.

Since then, Nissan's product chief Andy Palmer--a champion of the LE Concept--has also left the company.

Now the electric Infiniti is reportedly gone from the future product plan as well.

Whether it's permanently gone or only postponed to let Nissan launch the updated 2017 Leaf--said to offer at least one model with a range of more than 100 miles--remains to be seen.


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