The Infiniti LE Concept has made its world debut at the 2012 New York International Auto Show showing off new styling and advanced technological concepts from Infiniti. The LE Concept is not just another pretty face as the production version is expected to reach Infiniti showrooms in near-similar form within the next two years as Infiniti’s first zero emission luxury sedan.
"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. "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."
The LE Concept is powered by an electric motor with advanced control technologies. The LE Concept's electric motor is rated at 134 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque. Storing that power is a Laminated 24 kWh lithium-ion battery with 192 cells housed in the floor for optimum weight distribution. The motor is mated to a single-speed reducer, shift-by-wire drive selector with an ECO drive pattern transmission driving the front wheels.
Infiniti claims the DC 50 kW quick charger Wireless Charging System with Intelligent Park Assist will give the LE Concept a 100-mile range. In terms of charging, the Infiniti LE Concept is equipped to utilize an integrated charging port, a DC Fast Charge option and an advanced Wireless Charging System. The system’s non-contact charging is via inductive energy flow, with a coil safely encased on the garage floor. The primary coil is connected to the energy source, which then creates a magnetic field that excites electric current in a second coil in the LE Concept. The high-frequency charging, controlled by the twin display or smartphone, is safe for children and pets and can be installed easily in a home garage.
In addition, taking inspired technology a step beyond, the Infiniti LE Concept features an Intelligent Park Assist with Around View™ Monitor to easily align the vehicle in the proper position over the wireless charging coil. The system uses e-steering, with full forward and backward capability, along with a 360-degree view of the surrounding area.
It also bookmarks the parking place in GPS so that once the vehicle enters the garage, for example, the navigation system will automatically switch to Around View™ Monitor and the system is ready to park the car.
The LE Concept rides on independent MacPherson strut with coil springs and stabilizer bar in front, Torsion beam with integrated stabilizer bar in the rear, double-piston shock absorbers, front independent strut/rear torsion beam suspension with double-piston shock absorbers.
From inception, the LE Concept has been designed as a pure Infiniti, rather than as an electric vehicle and is about the same overall length as an Infiniti G Sedan which supports Infiniti’s belief that zero emission does not have to mean small. The Infiniti LE Concept has a luxury-styled sedan body and is not a converted hatchback.
A number of design features contribute to the coefficient of drag of 0.25, which aids driving range, including the aluminum-alloy wheels with aero treatment, the high rear deck, rear aero diffuser and aero side fin spoilers with integrated illumination. The large front grille features a solid finisher and a charge port hidden under the illuminated center Infiniti emblem. The deep-skirted front fascia includes an aero fin spoiler with illumination. The iconic Infiniti LED headlights and taillights echo the design direction of Infiniti’s recent Infiniti Essence and EMERG-E concepts.
Special illumination located under the rear diffuser illustrates the positioning of the wireless charger. The already dramatic exterior is accentuated by blue LED lighting that flows around the lower panels. Distinctive Infiniti EV Blue paint is adopted to enhance the sense of Infiniti EV-ness on the door handles and wheels.
The LE Concept interior is anchored by its Infiniti signature double-wave layout, which flows from instrument panel to the center console and down the cabin sides. The double-wave design is highlighted by special soft LED Infiniti EV Blue lighting that flows in two waves from front to back, while the center console forms a strong anchor line that penetrates the interior space. The center console finisher adds a touch of EV-ness though use of a "Hamon” (ripple) design. A sculpted shift knob comfortably controls the LE Concept’s drive system.
Infiniti-EV meters combine modern digital display and analog gauges. The center cluster features an innovative connected twin display powered by an Intel Atom™ processor. The twin display will offer Infiniti LE drivers access to the kinds of information that EV drivers will appreciate such as a dynamic range calculator that will use onboard and cloud based data. As the public charging station network expands, the on-board database will be kept current. And on compatible charger networks, the driver will be able to confirm real time charger availability.
The seat and door trim design also comes from traditional roots, inspired by the "Eriashi" (collar) of a Japanese kimono. The seats are covered in a suede-and-mesh fabric with violet accents, and semi-aniline leather sides. The unique interior color combination of blush violet for upper portions and light white for lower also reinforces the vehicle’s Infiniti EV-ness.
"For those who wonder how a zero emission vehicle like the Infiniti LE Concept will fit into their lifestyles, the answer is simple: perfectly. With a range of current and future stainable vehicles faithful to the Infiniti promise of Inspired Performance, Infiniti is well positioned for the growing demand for clean, efficient and exciting vehicles," concluded Ghosn. "In a rapidly changing world, Infiniti is well ahead of the game."