Vital Stats

Engine:
150-kW motor (x2) + 1.2L I3
Power:
402 HP / 738 LB-FT
Transmission:
Single-Speed (x2)
0-60 Time:
4.1 Seconds
Top Speed:
138 MPH
Drivetrain:
Rear-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,530 LBS
Seating:
2
Base Price:
N/A
The Infiniti Emerg-E is a two-place hybrid gasoline-electric concept that made its world debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. While its sleek shape and stunning styling dropped jaws, those on the green side of things immediately recognized it as a reskinned and updated Lotus 414E – itself a concept based on the Evora that debuted at the same show only two years earlier. Yet there is little wrong with a reworked, Infiniti-badged Lotus boasting 402 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque, especially when it features a lightweight, all-aluminum bonded chassis beneath an attractive carbon fiber skin penned by the automaker's Southern California design team.

The hybrid powertrain is all contained aft of the cockpit. Primary propulsion is accomplished with two electric motors, one on each rear wheel, both featuring its own single-speed transmission (this design eliminates the need for a differential and provides electronic torque vectoring control). Energy for the electric motors is stored in a 15-kWh lithium-ion battery placed behind the seats, which is chemically different from the lithium-polymer pack Lotus used in its 414E. Auxiliary propulsion comes from a Lotus-designed, all-aluminum, 1.2-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine, rated at 50 horsepower, that serves as a range-extender after the 30-mile life of the battery pack is extinguished. Teamed with an 8.1-gallon fuel tank, the combo allows the Emerg-E to cruise about 300 miles without stopping.

Offered the chance to take the Emerg-E for a quick loop around an autocross course in Southern California, I jumped at the opportunity.

Driving Notes
  • Climbing into the low-slung cockpit wasn't overly difficult, but it did take a bit of maneuvering to clear the wide floor sills of this right-hand-drive test car. Once in place, there was decent room for my six-foot, two-inch frame, and I found the bucket racing seat comfortable. In addition to the aforementioned battery changes from the 414E and a fresh new skin, Infiniti has redesigned the cabin with a unique dashboard, instrument cluster, seats and steering wheel.
  • Despite all of the power on tap, driving the Emerg-E at low speeds was drama-free. There is no built-in creep, but a well-weighted accelerator pedal made crawling across the paddock in pure-EV mode effortless. Infiniti claims the 0-60 sprint is accomplished in 4.1 seconds, but my full-throttle launch felt a tick or two slower (the engineer sitting next to me warned that performance may be reduced as the battery was just about depleted). Other than the expected whir of the two motors, and the sound of gravel being thrown off the tires, all was silent for the first second. Then the combustion engine burst to life with a pleasing deep growl and boosted system power.
  • Braking was strong, as the Infiniti concept shares its four-piston monobloc calipers and drilled rotors with the production Evora and supplements it with a regenerative system. The pedal had a solid feel, and modulation was good. When lifting off the throttle, I didn't note the strong drag often associated with aggressive regeneration - maybe I was concentrating too much on the first corner that was rapidly approaching.
  • Initial turn-in wasn't as sharp as I had expected, about equal with the new C7 Corvette if a comparison is required, but the Emerg-E had no problem ripping around the tight circuit and navigating all of the cones. The center of gravity is impressively low, with most of the weight positioned slightly in front of the rear wheels, and I didn't note any understeer through the slalom (the Pirelli P-Zero Corsa rubber gripped tenaciously). Thanks to abundant torque and instant throttle response, flinging the coupe around the old concrete runway was a pleasure. I'd prefer a little less overall weight, but I'll take the powerful hybrid powertrain and chassis tuning just as it is - that's a huge compliment to a concept car.
  • While the Emerg-E is an impressive little package, and the automaker has built a handful of prototypes, Infiniti has no plans to rush it into production. Consider its efficient technology nothing more than a test bed for future models as the automaker works towards introducing its first electric car.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 105 Comments
      Sims
      • 1 Year Ago
      Has nothing on the Infiniti Essence Concept.
      foci
      • 1 Year Ago
      This design appears rushed. The studios at Infinite typically release very refine designs. We will see what this evolves into.
      Bradford
      • 1 Year Ago
      Except for the Infiniti badging, if you had told me this was the next gen Lotus Exige, I would totally believe you.
      RomanM
      • 1 Year Ago
      There seems to be nice alternatives to Tesla in the pipeline. S500 plug-in hybrid BMW x5 plug-in hybrid Audi a4 plug-in hybrid This infiniti. Caddy ELR Next few years might be very interesting!
        VL00
        • 1 Year Ago
        @RomanM
        This Infiniti is lame compared to a Model S. After 30 miles (probably 20-25 in the real world), you're left with 50 HP (minus conversion losses). And if the space deficient ELR is a competitor why isn't the Volt a competitor?
      throwback
      • 1 Year Ago
      This would make a very nice flagship.
      Carpinions
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's a Lotag, or a Jagus, a cross between Lotus and Jaguar styling cues while eking out a character of its own. Certainly the styling gets a lot of oomph with the basis being an actual Lotus. Now if they could just explain their strategy for the powertrain and the range. In this age of Tesla 4-doors, 30 miles (if that wasn't a typo) is nothing. The Volt does triple that on electric, though it's not a sports hybrid. And how is a 50hp 3-cylinder going to cover the remaining 270 mile range gap when its towing weight well above its power grade? That would equate roughly to getting 33 MPG, which I think would be tough when the car will be damn near 2 tons with a driver in it, and definitely 2 tons with 2 people.
        methos1999
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Carpinions
        Volt does not do triple 30 miles on electric - not even close. Volt does 35-50 miles on electric only.
        chanonissan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Carpinions
        first of all the volt has a 150 Hp and 273 lb Ft, range is 38 miles from a 16.6 KWH battery on electricity, the infiniti have 300 HP motor with 700 Lb Ft torque, and it complete 30 miles on a 15 KWH battery, and if you know something about horse power you would know the more power it has, the greater the demand from the battery, so 30 miles is impressive. The car is a series hybrid that turn a generator like the volt, that how it does that.
      protomech
      • 1 Year Ago
      Probably not, no. Power will likely be reduced slightly as the battery depletes, as this test drive demonstrated. The range extender should kick in well before the battery is fully depleted - perhaps around 20% charge? - and will run at full power to recharge the battery. If you're using more than 50 hp continuously - for example, at a track or travelling at 100+ mph - then the battery will eventually deplete and performance will decrease. I'm actually surprised this wasn't a problem in the test report. But at a traffic light, you'll have whatever's left in the battery plus whatever you charge while waiting at the light. That should be plenty to dust the Fiat 500 next to you.
        chanonissan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @protomech
        think you have the general idea but actual it is a generator powering the motor. That is why it have 300 miles range.
          BipDBo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @chanonissan
          No. The battery powers the motor all of the time. The generator comes on well before the battery is completely depleted, let's just say at 25%. At this point the batteries can still power the motors at full throttle. That's the theory, at least. I'm not sure how such a small battery gives that much power even at full charge. In range extending mode, The generator runs constantly feeding around 55 kw into the system, only cutting off or throttling it down when energy storage is going into excess. The motors draw from the system during throttle and put energy back in during regenerative braking. As long as the average draw doesn't exceed the 55 kWh being fed into the system by the generator, then range extender mode can go as long as there is gas in the tank, with full 300kWh available to the motors from the batteries.
          bonehead
          • 1 Year Ago
          @chanonissan
          >>you theory is wrong, but when deplete it surely use the generator to power motor or to do both charge and power motor. oh burn!
          chanonissan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @chanonissan
          every system is different, and you are explain how one system might work, it does not have to use the battery all the time, you theory is wrong, but when deplete it surely use the generator to power motor or to do both charge and power motor. Yes in city driving it is going to demand more energy from the battery, because the gasoline engine is shut off or because it is going at a slow revolution. The volt it self when battery is deplete does not use energy from the battery.
          Willy
          • 1 Year Ago
          @chanonissan
          Oh sorry chanonissan for coming back to this lengthy thread. I was just trolling on VL00 all this time. Bored. XD. I dunno why he was so focused on the 50hp engine? Most of the stuff I wrote was just to insinuate more! Ah, good times. Well back to gettin my GED, eh VL00?
          chanonissan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @chanonissan
          why pick out that line start above when it battery deplete, should should have indicate it is refer to the car .
      Rochester
      • 1 Year Ago
      A push-button transmission? With letters arranged in an asymmetrical pattern? Wait... I don't think that last bit was intentional. LOL
        bonehead
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rochester
        someone sucks at putting those stickers on straight for the buttons
      codeine
      • 1 Year Ago
      Does it mean that after 30 miles of burnouts, you will be left behind by a Fiat 500 with a whopping 101 hp at a traffic light?
        chanonissan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @codeine
        no, it is a series hybrid after it runs out and gen turn by the engine power the motors.
          codeine
          • 1 Year Ago
          @chanonissan
          Yeah, I got that! But still just 50 hp!
          chanonissan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @chanonissan
          no you donot understand, the motor are still given 400 Hp after the battery deplete, the engine switch on turning the gen, the gen power the motor which still push 150+HP to each rear wheels.
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      With pricing and performance its really "cements" the genius of the few automakers who have built such amazing products. For example, GTR is really a world class speed monster capable of out doing the most prestigious super cars all for a price that makes it achievable. Seriously, what production car can out speed higher end 6 figure cars for a tiny fraction of the price? Then you get Tesla's Model S. We're getting a lot of new cars that just barely or can't match Model S's spec sheet. Seriously your, getting a full size car with all the amentities and capabilities of a premium sports car combined with a sedan. Plus your saving a fortune on gas. Its great news for these companies that are making such huge strides in offerings for the money. Many automakers are simply going around in circles and can't pump out world class cars whose specs and pricing isn't outdone by the likes of Model S EV or the notoriously affordable speed monster, GTR.
      over9000
      • 1 Year Ago
      So much sexier and promising than the new NSX
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
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