Infiniti Project Black S: F1 hybrid tech hits the streets
A collaborative effort between Infiniti and Renault Sport Formula One called Project Black S made its global debut in Geneva. Complementing its dramatic styling and expanded use of advanced composite materials, this Infiniti Q60 Coupe concept showcases an F1-inspired performance hybrid powertrain that hints at a system being considered for future road-going applications. It also signals the automaker’s interest in developing a new “Black S” grade of high performance vehicles for the brand.
In unveiling the car, Infiniti President Roland Krueger stated the automaker has consistently been a leader in introducing various types of advanced powertrain tech, noting: “Infiniti is the premium car manufacturer within the Renault-Nissan Alliance and a technical partner to the Renault Sport Formula One Team, so it’s natural that we come together to explore the possibility of bringing innovative high-performance hybrid technology to our customers.” He said Project Black S will be used to gauge the level of interest buyers have in seeing this kind of race-bred innovation appear in their cars.
From the circuit to the street
Motivation for Project Black S comes from an advanced hybrid setup that matches Infiniti’s new 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 with an energy recovery system (ERS). In Formula One form, the ERS uses two motor generator units (MGUs) -- one to harvest kinetic energy from the brakes and one from exhaust heat from the turbochargers – which is stored as electricity in high-discharge rate lithium ion battery packs and then deployed on demand to help rotate the engine crankshaft and spool up the turbo compressors.
While Infiniti provided no specific details about the street-spec ERS setup used in Project Black S, it did say engineers calculated the system could boost overall output by approximately 25 percent above that of the baseline V6 turbo while endowing the engine with even greater responsiveness. They also noted this enhanced version of the engine is fitted with a lightweight, free-breathing titanium exhaust system.
Bolder look, better aero
The exterior was penned at Infiniti’s London Design studio under the management of the automaker’s Global Design Center in Japan and also tapped into Renault Sport’s expertise in composites to help develop the many weight-saving and aero-enhancing carbon fiber body pieces used on Project Black S. Key among the list are its deep front splitter, boldly-flared fenders, bespoke doors, flow-channeling side skirts and rear diffuser as well as its prominent fixed rear wing. Working with the car’s performance suspension are a set of low-mass 21-inch forged alloy wheels mounting super-sticky 245/35 Pirelli P Zero tires.
It’s still too early to know how much of this tech will make its way into the showroom. However, we fully expect Infiniti will move ahead with plans to use Black S-grade vehicles to add more enthusiast-oriented vehicles to its lineup.
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