- Mid-engine concept combines electric and gasoline power
- Targets uncompromised sports car performance with alternative propulsion
- Includes zero-emission, electric-only mode intended for urban driving
Infiniti plans to show the world a glimpse into the company's future at the Geneva Auto Show in March. The luxury brand will debut a sports car concept with electric propulsion and two often-contradictory attributes - high performance and low emissions. Concept designers at Infiniti tackled the challenge with an extended-range gasoline-electric series hybrid, with electric motors driving the wheels and a small gas motor used as a generator. Infiniti says the concept aims to deliver true sports car capability and zero-emission, electric-only operation.
Infiniti's concept includes a 1.2-liter gasoline engine-generator and a battery to provide the juice for electric drive. Electric-only mode allows the vehicle to operate emissions-free, but the gas motor provides back-up when the battery runs low or more immediate power is needed. Infiniti says the concept will provide the kind of track-ready performance that conventionally-powered sports cars can deliver, thanks in part to a traditional, well-balanced mid-engine layout.
"We are targeting to make an uncompromising sports car, to achieve an uncompromised level of performance - a real sports car," said Francois Bancon, deputy division general manager for product strategy and product planning. "On top of this [the electric vehicle with range extender] makes possible for urban driving to be zero emission."
Bancon said solutions like this extended-range electric-drive setup will likely be important to Infiniti's future.
"We thought this new way of doing things, pushing the performance to the limit, and at the same time being responsible, feed very well into what Infiniti should be and what Infiniti probably will be."
As automakers strive to deliver the driving experience of conventional automobiles and the economy and low emissions of new alternatives, concepts like this one from Infiniti help to shape future models by applying the latest technology while relying on established sports car characteristics like mid-engine architecture. Concepts are typically years from becoming production-car reality, but they are a necessary step to bring new propulsion solutions to market.
What it means to you: The future of the sports car may include batteries and electric motors alongside combustion engines. An extended-range electric concept from Infiniti examines how such a car might look.