Infiniti has never been followed by us at all. However, with NYIAS approaching and news about what they have been working on, we decided to take a look. What we found very pleased us. The Infiniti LE is a giant step forward in the electric-drivetrain that automakers have been recently working on.
Exterior: Infiniti has always been using that “developed by brush-strokes” ad campaign for their new models. The outside has some great curves and in the right places. The grille is a little odd, a little too much there. Nothing major to report here, just take a look at the picture yourself.
Interior: Similar to all Infiniti models, the LE will have a lot of leather. Also inside this concept can be seen some nice LED-accented lights. I hope that these will not be on during driving, or there will be an option to turn them off, as it might be annoying after a while. However, the LE didn’t seem like it had a lot of hard plastics, but this is only the concept.
They also have a large, iPad-like, display system controlled by a knob. This is similar to the BMW system, as others. I prefer this over touchscreen systems, as I’d rather have physical control of what I’m doing, rather than have to reach and hit something on the screen.
Hardware/Power: Power consists of an electric motor rated at 134 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque (the Leaf‘s motor is only rated at 107 horsepower). Powering this electric motor is a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery housed in the floor. Drive is sent to the front wheels via a single-speed transmission.
Charging is done via a primary coil connected to the energy source, which then creates a magnetic field that excites electric current in a second coil in the LE Concept. This charging station is required to be installed in the floor of the garage. However, the LE promises to be nice and park itself underneath the charging station for you.
Final: The LE will begin production some time later next year, and will be built, along with the Leaf, at a production facility in Tennessee.
Our Opinion: A lot of electric cars are coming out from various manufacturers. Will this one catch on? Who knows. Frankly, all signs point to the uncertainty by consumers to switch from fossil fuels. IF and only IF more charging stations are built or added to existing gasoline stations will people really take the shift and embrace it. However, die-hards will never, and automakers really need to realize that. It’s a tough battle. But Infiniti has both bases covered with the Leaf and now the LE.