Here is Infiniti’s take on a zero-emissions luxury car (read: electric vehicle). It is called the Infiniti LE Concept and it was recently unveiled to the world at the 2012 New York International Auto Show. And it looks simply out of this world. No really, take a look at the car and you’d agree with me that it could fit right into one of Isaac Asimov’s novels.
The thing is, this car could be reality because Infiniti says that a near-similar form could be inside showroom within the next two years. And when it does make it into the showrooms, the LE Concept will be Infiniti’s first production zero emission luxury car.
But the design is not merely for flashiness; a number of the features you see help bring the coefficient drag to 0.25, which also increases driving range. These features include the aluminium-alloy wheels with aero treatment, the high rear deck, rear aero diffuser and aero side fin spoilers with illumination. The deep-skirted front fascia also integrates an aero fin spoiler with illumination.
It is also quite dramatic on the inside, especially with the double-wave design that is illuminated with soft blue lighting punctuated only by the centre console. The centre console adds a touch of EV-ness though the use of a ‘Hamon’ (ripple) design. The design of the seats and door trim are inspired by the ‘Eriashi’ (collar) of a Japanese kimono.
The centre cluster features a twin display powered by an Intel Atom processor that will give the driver information such as real time charger availability, expands the charging network when physical stations are added, information from cloud based data and a dynamic range calculator.
What about the space inside? Well, the LE Concept places the batteries under the passenger compartment floor, which maximises room for passengers and in the trunk. It also lowers the centre of gravity.
The LE Concept draws power from a 24 kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery with a ChaDeMo DC50 kW quick charger. The e-powertrain can generate a torque of 325 Nm immediately.
Independent struts and rear torsion beams suspension with double-piston shock absorbers and the high body stiffness (with rigid-mounted battery frame) gives a comfortable ride. The low centre of gravity and concentration of weight to the centre of the vehicle enhances its handling.
There will be three ways you can charge the LE Concept; by way of the integrated charging port, a DC Fast Charge and a Wireless Charging System.
The non-contact charging is possible via inductive energy flow with a coil encased on the garage floor. Here is how it will work: The primary coil in the garage is connected to the energy source to create a magnetic field that will excite the electric current in a second coil located in the LE Concept. The charging can be controlled via the twin display or a smartphone. Infiniti says that the system installs easily and will not zap for children and pets.
But there’s more. For the system it work, the coils need to be properly aligned. Which is why the LE Concept will feature an Intelligent Park Assist with Around View Monitor to get the job done easier. The system employs e-steering with full forward and backward capability along with a 360-degree view of the surrounding area. It also marks the spot with the GPS so that it will automatically switch to Around View Monitor and gets the system ready to park the car.
As mentioned earlier, the real deal will arrive within the next two years. I wonder how many features will remain in the production car.