Infiniti has re-confirmed it will sell the production version of the LE, and it has now given us a year: 2014. This makes it likely that Nissan's upscale arm will be the first OEM to sell a production inductive charging vehicle.

USAToday reports that Infiniti officials made the announcement in California alongside the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance this past weekend. The high-end event is a good place to discuss launching a beefier, prettier luxury cousin to the Nissan Leaf, especially one that could have the cachet of being able to offer completely hassle-free electric miles (one you install the pads in your garage, of course). Infiniti's Ben Poore told USAToday that, "It's a new technology. We're being a little bit bold on this." The LE – which stands for Luxury, Electric – also allows standard, wired charging.

While we don't know what the specs will be for the production version, the LE Concept has a Leaf-like 24kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a 100-kw electric motor that offers 134 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. That's 24 hp and 30 lb-ft more than the Leaf. The LE will be most likely be built at Nissan's factory in Smyrna, TN, the one that will start making the Leaf later this year.

The race is on to bring wireless charging to the masses, with companies like Mitsubishi and Audi working privately and the U.S. government dabbling as well.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      Anne
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can't imagine this vehicle launching in 2014 with a 24 kWh battery while the 2013 LEAF is likely to get a larger battery already. It will simply not sell with such a limited range, they won't stand a chance competing against Tesla. With or without wireless charging.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Anne
        "It will simply not sell with such a limited range, they won't stand a chance competing against Tesla." Yep, why bother? Nobody should even think about producing an EV unless it is equal to or better than a Tesla... Wait, what's that? It would be impossible for Tesla to completely supply the entire market for EV demand, and that other automakers could fill the gaps? You don't say...
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          /sarc
          Anne
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          "Nobody should even think about producing an EV unless it is equal to or better than a Tesla" Capitalism 101: consumers are free to choose the best product for their money. It is clear that Tesla have set the benchmark in the luxury EV segment. So yes, your conclusion is correct. Tesla's manufacturing capabilities are far from maxed out. I don't see any reason why that would drive many people towards buying this LE because the wait for a Model S is too long. But mark my words, this car will NOT hit the market with a 24 kWh battery. It will be considerably larger. Nissan is not crazy, they have first hand experience with the LEAF. You need more range if you want to sell an EV. Even more so with a luxury EV.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Anne
        The Smart's battery runs at about $272kwh. Bumping the pack to 30kwh might cost an extra $2200, on an already expensive car. It would be suicide not to, IMO. Nissan at the moment is trying not to admit that range will go up, as that would impact present sales, if they could actually be impacted much more than they are at the moment.
      Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think it looks great....except for the odd C-Pillar.
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Infiniti LE, IMHO, needs to have at least 50% more range than the Leaf, either via larger or better batteries, and considerably more power to represent the "Infiniti image." We have 15,000 miles on our Leaf, and it is acceptable as a second/city car, but it has many compromises too that would not be at all acceptable in an Infiniti branded model.
        Sasparilla Fizz
        • 1 Day Ago
        George, you said it perfectly. Nissan needs 150 miles or more Nissan range (which means ~125 real range) or more (since that range will decline over time and is reduced with temps and heat) and no batteries impinging on the trunk or passenger areas. It's competition is the Tesla Model S with lots of range and no battery or tech inpinging on the trunk or passenger compartments. If Nissan brings this out with 100 miles Nissan range - it'll be doomed to be a sideshow low vehicle compared to say the Model S.
      paulwesterberg
      • 2 Years Ago
      I would rather have a regular hatchback than a hatchback trying to look like a sedan. Also they need to de-bling the front grill.
        PeterScott
        • 1 Day Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        I like the sloping lift-back. You get better aerodynamics than the more typical mini-wagon type hatchback.
      NickR
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ack. That's prettier? Looks like someone barfed over the front.
        Ashton
        • 1 Day Ago
        @NickR
        It is actually...remember...their comparing it to the leaf. lol (not hard to beat that polished turd)
      MTN RANGER
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am willing to bet that this BEV will have significantly more than a 24kWh. Say 32kWh or so. This will allow for 1. higher AER, 2. compensate for more weight compared to Leaf, and 3. most likely better performance.
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nissan styling leaves a lot to be desired, about the only thing they do that I like styling wise is the Infinity FX. This things is just way over done. GM should do a pure EV Cadillac ELR variation and they could have a big chunk of the luxury EV market as well.
      Brinto
      • 2 Years Ago
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      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      Great. I just hope Infiniti doesn't produce a schism in wireless charging as their parent company has in wired charging. I would love to see wireless, automatic charging.
        Rich M
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Rotation
        Wireless charging is extremely inefficient for those who actually watch their kWh. I'll take a real connection any day.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Rich M
          Please show us the figures you are getting from your test rig! ;-) All the car companies which are trying it say it has a small or no penalty.
          JakeY
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Rich M
          @Rotation This type of inductive charging is not the same as the EV1's . The EV1's was not wireless (there was still a wire). The only difference is it had a paddle vs. a pin and socket connector. The type of wireless charging Nissan is researching has a significant air gap and tolerance.
          Rotation
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Rich M
          JakeY: The EV1 used inductive charging, there was no connection between the car and charger. The paddle had a coil in it and the car had a coil in it. There was no conductive connection. This is the same as wireless charging except for the method with which the two coils end up in proximity to each other. Nissan has not told us the size of their air gap or tolerance yet. They show a pad on the ground, but we don't know yet if the car lowers its own pad down to meet it.
          Rotation
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Rich M
          The EV1 used wireless (inductive) charging. While less efficient, it was not extremely inefficient. I like conductive charging a lot, but there are places where wireless would be more convenient and therefore is better suited.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Oh man, i really hope the production car doesn't look anything like this.
      throwback
      • 2 Years Ago
      This car looked decent in the metal. The interior in particular was very well done. I'm guessing this car will retail for around 50K before tax incentives, if any exist in 2014.
      Sasparilla Fizz
      • 1 Day Ago
      "Fittingly, Infiniti product planning manager Sean McNamara told The Detroit Bureau that the Infiniti EV's li-ion battery pack will be bigger than then Leaf's 24 kWh. The extra energy is intended to improve performance, not range." This will be a market failure if Infiniti tries to sell it with Nissan Leaf range (which they appear to have been planning on doing). Hopefully someone in the Nissan executive suite comes to their senses and gives this thing the range it needs to be successful in the luxury plug-in market which is at least double the Leaf range.
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