Nissan electrifies Infiniti with LE Concept
Photo credit: INFINITI
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NEW YORK -- Nissan Motor Co. unveiled the third piece of its global electric-vehicle strategy here today with the introduction of the Infiniti LE Concept, a luxury five-passenger sedan that looks more like an Infiniti G than the Nissan Leaf it is based on.
From the large Infiniti-design grille and headlights to the aerodynamic down sweep of the rear end, the car is clearly differentiated from the Leaf.
Infiniti product planners are determined to carve out a distinct identity for the LE when it reaches the market in 2014.
The concept car unveiled today is more than 80 percent the same as the final production car, said Ben Poore, vice president for Infiniti Americas.
"There's a clear opportunity for an electric vehicle in the luxury segment," Poore said. "We see a lot of luxury customers with two vehicles in their garage. They drive a BMW 7 series on one day, and a green car the next.
"But what are their options right now?" he said. "The choice has been either a Toyota Prius, or a very high-end electric car that is frankly more of a toy. We envision the LE in that second spot in the future."
The LE name stands for "Luxury Electric," but that will change before market launch, Poore says.
The car uses the same lithium ion battery-powered energy source and chassis platform as the Nissan Leaf. Nissan is also using the platform for the NV200 commercial van that will come to market this year.
But Infiniti has shifted from the Leaf's hatchback shape to a more familiar sedan. In presenting the car today, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said the LE will use different styling and technologies, including a more luxurious and quieter interior using suede and leather-accented seats. The cockpit instrumentation is a mixture of digital and analog displays.
Ghosn said the LE's battery-power acceleration will create a "new level of luxury driving experience."
The Infiniti version also will include features such as wireless battery recharging and Infiniti's recently introduced 24-hour on-call concierge service, Infiniti Personal Assistant.
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