Infiniti LE Concept - 2012 New York Auto Show
Referred to as a production intent exercise, the Infiniti LE Concept that debuted in New York actually heralds a volume-build model the automaker says will be in showrooms within two years as its first zero-emissions luxury sedan. While certain details may differ, Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn confirmed that what you see here is pretty much what you'll get when the car does go on sale.
About the same size as an Infiniti G Sedan and incorporating a number of styling cues seen in the Infiniti Essence and EMERG-E show cars, the LE Concept's sleek bodywork features an array of subtle fins, diffusers and spoiler elements that help trim its coefficent of drag to a super-sleek 0.25. Aero-efficient 19-inch alloys wheels wrapped in 225/40 low-rolling resistance tires "with Infiniti levels of handling performance" fill the LE Concept's smartly flared fenderwells and blue LED accenting lighting that flows around the lower body margins complement the look of its high-efficiency LED headlamps and taillights.
Inside, the Infiniti LE Concept features a modern luxury environment that also incorporates a number of traditional Japanese design flourishes. The car's signature double-wave dash features instruments that blend analog and digital design while the large twin-screen uses an Intel Atom processor to keep the driver and passengers updated on the full range of pertinent information about the vehicle status and other areas of interest using both on-board and cloud-based data sources. The Infiniti LE Concept's deeply bolstered seats are covered in a unique white suede-and-mesh fabric accented with violet piping and white semi-aniline leather while soft LED Infiniti EV Blue lighting runs across the door panels and console sides to add a finishing touch to the look.
While platform specifics were not discussed in detail, the Infiniti LE Concept's "e-platform" shares a good deal of common design with the architecture in the Nissan LEAF. Both are front-drive exercises with MacPherson strut front/torsion-beam rear suspension systems, have vehicle-speed sensitive electric power steering, a single-speed shift-by-wire transmission, ultra-efficient regenerative braking systems and position their 24kWh lithium-ion battery packs beneath the floor to enhance interior room and weight distribution. The biggest difference is that motor in the Infiniti LE Concept puts out 134 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque compared to the LEAF's 107/207 figures. Equally pertinent, the Infiniti LE Concept also is fitted with a powerful ChaDeMo DC50kW on-board quick charger and an advanced Wireless Charging System.
"In keeping with the Infiniti challenger mentality, the LE Concept includes a built-in Wireless Charging System, which we expect to be the first home-based wireless charging system if adapted for the production version," explained Infiniti Americas Vice President Ben Poore. "All you have to do is park your vehicle over the charging pad with no need to connect cables." To help you find the mark, the LE Concept even has special illumination located under its rear diffuser to point out the location of the charger.
"In a future that holds an increasing consumption of natural resources, we will advance our sustainable mobility leadership and expand our EV market penetration with new electric vehicles such as the Infiniti LE Concept," said Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn at the LE Concept's reveal. "Infiniti is well positioned to deliver the objectives for a sustainable future, relying on our capable, hard-working and motivated team members around the world. We are a challenger." Only time will tell how successful that challenge will be, but there's no denying the Infiniti LE Concept is a very promising package.