Infiniti readies electric SUV concept for Detroit auto show


Teaser for Infiniti electric crossover SUV concept debuting at 2019 Detroit auto show

Teaser for Infiniti electric crossover SUV concept debuting at 2019 Detroit auto show

Tesla has rocked the luxury car market in the U.S. to its core with the Model S and Model X, and is now doing the same to the aspirational lower end of the car market and even the mainstream market with its Model 3. 

That's the place where automakers like Acura, Audi, BMW, Infiniti, and Lexus have thrived for decades.

In response, Infiniti is preparing to roll out an electric SUV concept at the Detroit auto show in early January to introduce a new line of electric cars from the brand.

DON'T MISS: Infiniti announces new electric car lineup based on Q Inspiration

Infiniti would seem a natural fit to sell electric cars, being the luxury division of Nissan. Back in 2012, the company said it would introduce its first electric car, the Infiniti LE, a luxury Nissan Leaf sedan, but never did.

Along the way, the brand showed a number of exotic electric concepts that looked like race cars of the past and future.

Infiniti Q Inspiration, 2018 Detroit auto show

Infiniti Q Inspiration, 2018 Detroit auto show

At last January's Detroit auto show, the company promised that most models coming from Infiniti starting in 2021 would be electric. The assertion led us to wonder which Infiniti models that might exclude.

In April, the company rolled out a design concept at the Beijing auto show called the Q Inspiration, a flowing sedan which was supposed to be a design concept for all future Infiniti electric cars.

CHECK OUT: Infiniti Sees No Demand For Luxury Electric Cars Before 2020 (2015)

The new concept for this year's upcoming show partly answers our earlier question, whether Infiniti's SUVs could be left out of the brand's electric conversion. It's an SUV, though it's no bruising, trucky QX80 or even a docile family mobile like the QX60.

The teaser image reminds us of little so much as the departed QX70 sports SUV, originally called the FX45 when Infiniti introduced it as the "bionic cheetah" at the Detroit show in 2001. It wasn't the most practical SUV, but with a wide stance, slim cabin, and abundant power, it felt like the sports car of SUVs—all features that might work even better in an electric version. 

2012 Infiniti LE Concept

2012 Infiniti LE Concept

Nissan says the electric SUV will use a new modular electric platform, the same one the company previewed in April with the Q Inspiration, which it said was set to debut in 2021. It is expected to offer up to 400 horsepower and about 300 miles of electric range, and may include plug-in hybrid adaptations (dubbed e-Power in Infiniti's nomenclature).

READ MORE: Ferrari, Infiniti: Even laggards, skeptics come round to electric cars

This SUV could yield the first real fruits of that vision—and potentially give stagnating U.S. Infiniti sales a long-awaited boost. 

"The concept car we will show in Detroit is the beginning of a new era for Infiniti, and an illustration of where we want to go with the brand,” said Infiniti design chief Karim Habib in a statement. “Electrification and other new technologies have given us the opportunity to evolve our design philosophy.”

 
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