Infiniti may have been one of the early pioneers of electrification in the luxury segment, having introduced the M35h hybrid sedan as early as 2010, but the brand has been slow when it comes to electric car technology, which is a bit odd since parent company Nissan is one of the biggest proponents of EVs in the industry.
There have been a couple of false starts. First with the Emerge-E extended-range electric sports car and then the LE electric sedan, both of which we saw as concepts in 2012. Now, though, Infiniti finally looks serious about launching an electric car on the market.
The automaker on Wednesday confirmed its first fully electric car will go on sale in 2021. The car’s arrival will kick off an electrification transformation at Infiniti, which expects more than 50 percent of its sales worldwide to be made up of electrified cars by 2025.
Among Infiniti’s electrified fleet will be some series hybrids, a technology Nissan and Infiniti has branded e-Power. The e-Power vehicles are electric cars that charge their batteries by a combination of energy regeneration and a small onboard internal combustion engine. This differs to other series hybrids like BMW’s i3 Rex which also has a plug to charge up the battery.
The first e-Power vehicle is the Nissan Note e-Power subcompact sold in Japan. The benefit is that you get the efficiency and driving feel of an electric car but with the convenience of being able to fill up at a gas station. We haven’t tested the system so can’t comment on how well the internal combustion engine copes with supplying sufficient juice to the battery during high-load situations, which is typically a problem for series hybrids.
Shown main is a design sketch for Infiniti’s Q Inspiration concept unveiled on Monday at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The concept previews Infiniti’s new design language and is powered by the brand’s VC-Turbo variable compression turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4.