Within the next 3 years, Infiniti will launch a halo sports car using hybrid technology developed through the Emerg-E and Essence concept vehicles.
In an effort to appeal to a wider audience, specifically premium car customers in their late 20s, likely with a single child and a high level of environmental awareness, the Infiniti sports car will likely be a range-extended or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.
Andy Palmer, Infiniti’s brand boss, says the final product will be “like the Tesla sports car option, but with more flexibility in terms of range.” That comment alone virtually rules out an all electric drivetrain, unless Infiniti has some wild new invention on how to get better range out of or get a larger battery into a sports car.
The Emerg-E concept was a 2 seat, rear wheel drive vehicle that used a Lotus derived 1.2 liter gasoline engine and 2 electric motors. The Essence concept used a 3.7 liter V6 engine mater to a single electric motor. Palmer ruled the Nissan GT-R drivetrain, because of the noise, vibration, and harshness of the ride. The Infiniti sports car “target customers are not people who compromise, so we need to ensure we deliver the best of everything.”
So-called plug-in hybrids may use a gas engine to power the batteries after their depletion, however the drivetrain always remains fully electric, regardless of whether the batteries are being powered by the gas generator or not. Some incoming models of vehicles of this type will even offer a generator-gas tank module which can be fitted in and out of the car. So, “fully electric drivetrain” is indeed compatible with an extended range. That’s the difference between regular hybrids and plug-in hybrids, one has a hybrid drivetrain while the other has an all-electric drivetrain and only the source of energy alternates between fully electric, using energy that has been taken from the grid, and hybrid, after this stored electricity has been exhausted.