By Jennifer Geiger on April 5, 2012
Infiniti has spent the last several auto shows debuting electric concept cars; it looks like New York is no different. There's one big difference between this one and those that have come before it, however. The production version of the LE concept will be the brand's first electric car, and it will go on sale within the next two years, according to Infiniti. It will join the Leaf electric car from parent company Nissan.
Exterior highlights of the sedan include LED headlights and taillights, an illuminated spoiler, blue LED exterior accent lighting, and Infiniti EV Blue paint on the door handles and wheels.
The aerodynamic-styled sedan gets power from a 192-cell lithium-ion battery pack. Its 100-kilowatt-hour electric motor is rated at 134 horsepower and 240 pounds-feet of torque, and Infiniti estimates the range at 100 miles. This is slightly more powerful than the Leaf's drivetrain.
Infiniti calls the concept "an all-new luxury sedan body," but it shares the same 106.3-inch wheel base dimension with the Leaf hatchback. It's a few inches bigger than the Leaf, though, at 128.4 inches long and 71.1 inches wide.
The interior will have all the goodies luxury-car buyers demand, Infiniti says. The LE's interior is trimmed in suede and mesh fabric with violet and white color accents. The seats are bordered with semi-aniline leather. The cabin uses two display screens to provide data such as dynamic range and a database of public charging systems. The twin display also can control preheat and precool functions, synchronize with web calendars and reserve charging stations.
Three different options are available for charging the LE concept, including a port for DC fast charging and wireless charging. Infiniti says the latter is the first home-based wireless charging system. Park your car over the charging pad, and the car is charged via inductive energy flow; one coil is mounted in the garage's floor and the second is in the LE. No charging cables are required, and Infiniti says the high-frequency charging can be controlled through the LE's twin display system or through a smartphone. The automaker says the system is safe for kids and pets and installs easily in a home garage.
Getting the LE in position over the coils can be done using Intelligent Park Assist with Around View Monitor. The system uses cameras to automatically position the car over the charging coils. It can also bookmark placement for future visits.
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Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer