All Electric Infiniti LE Back On Production Radar – But Just Barely

3 years ago by Jay Cole 50

 2012 Infiniti LE Concept

2012 Infiniti LE Concept

After debuting in concept form at the 1964 New York World’s Fair alongside Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, the all-electric Infiniti LE is once again officially confirmed for production after experiencing just a few delays.

Disney's Carousel Of Progress Today

Disney’s Carousel Of Progress Today

Ok, perhaps it didn’t debut that long ago…it just feels like it.

The Nissan LEAF based all-electric Infiniti did actually debut in New York…but it was April of 2012.

By June of 2012, and after speaking with a Infiniti representative, we had a start of production target for the LE of  “15 to 18 months“.

Obviously that target was never reached and the Infiniti (along with its microsite) went it into a state of limbo.  Since then, new rumors of when (and if) the car would be made have surfaced often.

Most recently, Andy Palmer – who just took over the ‘boss duties’ at Infiniti on a temporary basis (Mr. Palmer also serves as Nissan’s executive vice president/Chief Planning Officer), estimated that the LE would go on sale close enough to be counted as part of the company’s Power 88 program, so on or before March 31, 2017.

Now comes word via Automotive News that the much-anticipated LE is indeed on Infiniti’s production schedule!  Unfortunately it has a very loose debut timeline of 2017-2018.

LE: Infiniti’s postponed electric sedan, originally scheduled to launch in 2014, is back in the product plan. Now being eyed for 2017-18, the EV will share an architectural platform with the Nissan Leaf but have a unique body design and luxury interior. It also will come with a next-generation battery range beyond the current standard of approximately 90 miles.” – Auto News

The Infiniti LE is expected to have an all-electric range of about 130-150 miles when it does eventually hit the market.

Automotive News

 

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50 responses to "All Electric Infiniti LE Back On Production Radar – But Just Barely"

  1. This car will likely go head-to-head with the Tesla Model 3, so they know the challenge.

    The original plan with a 24kWh LEAF platform was a slow motion train wreck, but I suspect they can see the goal now.

    1. Spec9 says:

      Yep. When the Model S came out, they saw how the 24KWH Infiniti LE would have been laughed off the market so they wisely choose to cancel it.

      1. Josh says:

        I think higher range was always on their roadmap. I believe the hot weather issues were the cause of the delay. They needed to stop work on the higher energy density cells until after they solved the heat issues.

        That is just me guessing.

        1. Brian says:

          I’ve come to the same conclusion; it likely wasn’t Tesla’s Model S, but their heat problems that caused the delay. The Model S is priced so much higher, that I think there is room for both. The real competition will be the Model III and Infiniti must know this. Here’s to hoping that they have a compelling competitor.

          1. Just_Chris says:

            I am not sure how people measure success. I know in the very early days there where loads of really crazy numbers thrown around but the simple fact of the matter is Nissan have been running flat out to just keep up with demand of the Leaf. IMO they delayed other launches simple because they didn’t have the capital to build the extra capacity that new models would require.

            The high temperature battery IMO will not have taken the level of resources develop that would have derailed a new car program. It is likely that there have been a range of new technologies built and trialled I am thinking Nissan has gained a whole heap of knowledge by developing the NISMO racer, the other racer (the one that looks like a pencil with balls) and any number of concept cars. Not to mention the thousands of Leaf’s roaming around in the wild. Yes, the infinity will go head to head with the Tesla 3 but I think that there will be a fair fight especially if it looks like the Emerg-E concept. Range is appears to be rapidly becoming the new horse power of the car world but I really don’t think it is all that critical past a certain point for most drivers. I think it needs to be a bit higher than now but if the choice is for a 150 mile EV vs 200 mile EV and the one with the lower range looks better, costs slightly less, comes with a better finance package or just has better boot space then I think it will sell better.

            1. DaveMart says:

              ‘the simple fact of the matter is Nissan have been running flat out to just keep up with demand of the Leaf.’

              No they haven’t, and no that is not the fact.

              Both Nissan and Renault were geared up to increase production much more rapidly and cut it back because they did not get the sales they initially expected, as umpteen statements from them confirm.

              1. Just_Chris says:

                You are absolutely right it is an opinion not a fact (on second reading the English in my post is very poor, I apologize for that) but there are no idle Leaf factories, or layoffs of staff, there are no massive car parks full of unsold vehicles, no pressure on the CEO to step down because of a bad investment choice, no “partnering” with a another company (automotive or solar) to suck up extra battery capacity and no drop off in sales numbers. This years model even went slightly up in price, not something you would expect if Nissan where desperate to off load cars. Clearly the Leaf only makes up a small % of total sales so I am not suggesting that the whole company has been struggling to keep up the supply due to non-BEV specific components or that the Leaf is directly affecting other ICE Nissan model production but I honestly feel (emotional, gut feel, non-factual opinion) that the leaf is still supply restricted rather than market restricted.

                The only thing I have really seen stories about since the introduction of the lower priced American made Leaf is the lack of battery electrode material and how it is restricting the number of cars they can make. Could Nissan have moved faster possibly but 3 years is not very long to go from a standing start to a brand new product with hundreds of unique components that you have had no previous experience with and, more importantly, have no developed and trusted supply chain for.

                As for Renault’s commitment and gearing up. The Zoe is made on the same production line as the Clio and was delayed so as not to coincide with the Clio’s launch, that hardly smacks of throwing everything including the kitchen sink at the project. I can’t quite figure out whats going on with Renault, the sales numbers don’t seem to really make a lot of sense going up and down for no really obvious reason so it may very well be possible that the solution they are providing is not what the market wants, for what ever reason or it could be they were supposed to get batteries from Nissan but had to go with LG chem because Nissan doesn’t have any spare (now that really is a long shot and probably BS) who knows.

                Could we have made 1 million electric cars and put them on the road by 2015? I don’t think so. I remember at the time of that statement there were many others who didn’t think so either, admittedly, much like now, there aren’t a lot of independent voices. I still think that the Leaf has been a very successful car so far and I would love to see it continue to grow.

            2. scott franco says:

              You have to be kidding. Nissan makes a ton of different cars, none of which are in short supply. If they really wanted to, they could flood their dealers with them.

          2. yuba says:

            I think it was a portfolio consideration.

            in the period 2011-2012 was selling below the (too optimistic) sales projections by Nissan. I think they realized that if they would introduce another car next to it at that time (also with 24kWh) it would not generate more more sales, but just split the existing lower-than-expected sales into two models.

            So more investement, same revenue.

            But i really hope this car comes to the market. If it has a 200 mile range it will be a killer.

  2. Big Solar says:

    nice looking car. wonder what kind of range it may end up with…..?

  3. Spec9 says:

    It cracks me up how they pulled this car instead of it letting it get laughed off the market.

  4. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    40kWh usable, 200kW peak, 150mi advertised range, >=80kW ChaDeMo and >=50A 240V L2 or don’t bother.

    Also, liquid battery cooling.

    1. The double LEAF specs are doable (40kWh usable / 200kW) but the 80kW CHAdeMO will likely not be widespread.

      I recommend bumping that up to 50kWh and jumping on the Supercharger bandwagon !!!!

      1. Lad says:

        I like the 50kWh idea. Go you one better: Switch to all DC charging. Remove the AC charger and mount a 10kw DC charger at home…charge at home and on fast DC chargers…carry a small 120 volt AC to DC charger when you have long trips just in case.
        Saves weight, complication and space; lessens the cost of any car you purchase after the initial installs.

        1. They absolutely will go with wireless AC charging.

          1. Wireless as a charging option is OK, but a plug-in connection needs to remain.

            Personally I hope to see a 10, or 20 kW AC on-board charging option. This the most flexible and least cost in terms of needing public infrastructure.

            1. yuba says:

              In general very good news, the car looks good. I really hope this car will have a 200+ mile range. I do agree that a 20 kW DC wallbox for the home would be great.

              It will probably have the Leaf’s 6,6 kW onboard, and I really hope they will offer it with an optional 20 kW DC wallbox.

              For me they can take the 6,6 kW out in that case. Level II charging is just too slow. If you have 200 mile range anyway, you don’t need to plug in every day at work or at home.

              I hope they make the onboard charger optional, to save some money and offer a 20 kW DC wallbox instead

              1. Brian says:

                “For me they can take the 6,6 kW out in that case. Level II charging is just too slow. If you have 200 mile range anyway, you don’t need to plug in every day at work or at home.”

                I hope you see the irony in this statement. If you don’t have to plug in every day at home, then charging overnight is absolutely not “too slow”. Consider that today’s Leaf charges in about 4 hours with the 6.0kW charger. A 200-mile EV should then charge in 10-12 hours on a 6.0kW charger. In other words, overnight. If you really only get 8 hours to charge, but don’t need to charge every night, you will still be ok (since you
                won’t be adding 200 mile of range!).

                Note that I am talking about at home charging. On the road is a totally different story, and probably should be pushing the limits of CHAdeMO (~100kW) if possible.

                1. evrav4 says:

                  Definitely needs a 10kwh onboard charger and a 100kwh DC charging capability. Not having an onboard charger would be a nightmare.

    2. Just_Chris says:

      Not sure why the 80 kW charger would be all that exciting. If you had a 48 kWh battery and a 50kW charger you could go from 20% SOC to 80% state of charge (9.6 to 38.4 kWh) in 35 min which is really not all that different to 22 min. That might just be me, my attention span is about 2 min so really I can’t even fill up a regular ICE SUV without going for a coffee.

      Having said all of that I don’t think that I can really talk with any authority on the subject as I don’t fast or super charge. I also don’t very often drive more than 50 miles in a day so I guess I am just a regular snail charge kinda guy.

      1. scott franco says:

        See my original article on this (musings on range). The numbers are that a 50kwh car with a 50KW charger is not a long distance traveler. At %65 duty cycle, that is, driving for only %65 of the time vs. charging, the car is still a commuter car. Contrast this with the model S at %85 of the time.

        What low charge times do is allow the car to recharge on the fly in reasonable time that outdistancing the cars range is reasonable. Tesla/elon knows that.

        1. Brian says:

          Consider a 300 mile trip in such an EV (assuming a 150 mile range). Starting with a full charge, you only need one extra charge. That should take about 1 hour. It takes most people about 5 hours to drive 300 miles, so you are actually at an 83% duty cycle. That will decrease as your trip increases, so let’s look at a 450 mile trip (two charge cycles). 2 hours of charging, 7.5 hours of driving. That’s 79% duty cycle. Be honest with yourself – how often do you REALLY drive more than 450 miles in a day? I can tell you how many times I have done so – exactly once since I finished grad school 8 years ago. And it was brutal, so we broke up the return trip into two days.

          This is why I believe we need ubiquitous ~100kW charging along the interstates.

    3. ggpa says:

      The DC quick charge speed is determined by the charger and the battery. On a 24kWh leaf, the charge time is very similar whether you have a 25kW or 80kW connection, even if the battery starts fast, because it keeps the charge rate to about 25kW as it fills up.

      Of course a battery twice the size can charge twice as fast, and will make good use of the existing 44kW chargers.

      80kW chargers will cost a lot more, and there are no vehicles right now that will see any benefit. Until somebody copies the Tesla plan of a single DC charger with 2 outlets that can split its power to charge 2 cars at the same time.

      1. scott franco says:

        “Of course a battery twice the size can charge twice as fast, and will make good use of the existing 44kW chargers.””

        What have you been smoking. A 24KWH leaf that charges to %80 is not going to charge twice as fast if they come out with a 48KWH leaf. It is going to take 1 hour to go to %80. It is limited by the current and voltage into the battery, regardless of the battery size. That is why cars can get a “rate of charge” of N miles per minute on charge regardless of battery size.

        1. JakeY says:

          It won’t be twice as fast, but it’ll stay at the peak power of that 44kW charger for longer (keep in mind that the charging slows down near the end because of the battery, not the charger).

        2. Brian says:

          Charging a battery that is twice the size in the same time sure sounds like adding energy twice as fast.

        3. ggpa says:

          Scott …

          What I said was “a battery twice the size can charge twice as fast”. That is true. Almost by definition. A battery twice the size behaves like 2 batteries in parallel, and each of them still has the same properties of before.

          Please notice the word CAN in my sentence. The battery CAN charge twice as fast provided the charger CAN keep up.

          My second point (which JakeY and Brian grasped) was that the current Leafs max out at about 25kW, which means that 44kW chargers are not fully utilized. This will change if the battery size doubles.

      2. yuba says:

        Actually today the 50 kW CHAdeMO chargers are not used at their maximum capacity because of the limits of the small 24 kWh battery. I made some charging graphs of my Leaf, and it starts basically at some 46kW for the first 5 minutes and then it quickly goes down to 30kW and less. The average over 30 minutes was 28 kW only

        The battery is the limit. This has to do with the typical charge profile of a li-ion battery.

        If the battery was 48 kWh, I think the charge rate would be around 50 kW until probaly 80% or so.
        So effectively a bigger battery also close to doubles the average charging speed

        1. ggpa says:

          “So effectively a bigger battery also close to doubles the average charging speed”

          Exactly … if a Chademo adds 40 miles of range in 20 minutes to the small battery, it can add 80 miles of range in the same time if you double the battery size.

          The reason is that the bigger battery can accept charge twice as fast, subject only to external limitations, e.g. charger capacity.

          Now at the end of the charge, the rate will still be twice the rate of the small battery. So if the old, small battery takes 30 minutes to go from 80% to 100%, the new big battery will also take 30 minutes, with double the charge current.

    4. Big Solar says:

      Well if they do add that type of fast charging I hope 110v @ 12 amps is still a choice. Thats all I would ever need (and I drive a lot of miles)

  5. Jay Cole says:

    Figured maybe I should expound on the obscure “Carousel of Progress” reference was in the story (or as my son says “the worst part of Disney World”):

    1. Breezy says:

      I guess I’m in the minority, but I actually liked the Carousel of Progress when I saw it first in 1987.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        My family is ‘big’ with the Disney, which means we frequent the Mouse quite often…I enjoy the Carousel mostly because its 20 minutes of quiet/peaceful, air conditioned time in the dark – a rarity for the day.

    2. The concept for “Carousel of Progress” was cool in 1960’s when the theme was ‘past’, ‘present’, and ‘future’ when things changed at a slower pace.

      For your son, ‘great-gramps era’, ‘gramps era’ and ‘dads era’ just isn’t as relatable.

      It would be interesting if scenes from the “Carousel of Progress” were from the perspective of the barn/garage. I’d enjoying seeing the car plugged-in and later unplugging as “Mr. Fusion” was installed.

  6. Tesla Fan says:

    I wouldn’t get this car just because of that stupid curve in the window trim on the c pillar, looks dumb and not cool.

    1. Mint says:

      It’s a concept model. The production version would look quite different. Infiniti’s Essence concept also has it:
      https://www.google.com/search?q=infiniti+essence&safe=off&espv=2&tbm=isch

      Personally, I think that and the Emerg-e concepts look way better than the LE, but they’re not very practical body shapes.

  7. MIkeM says:

    My 5yr old grand-daughter would love it. The blue highlights nicely complement the flashing LEDs in her shoes.

    Me? Not so much!

  8. ModernMarvelFan says:

    If this is based on a LEAF, then it wouldn’t have a chance against the Tesla Model III.

    1. Brian says:

      “the EV will share an architectural platform with the Nissan Leaf but have a unique body design and luxury interior. It also will come with a next-generation battery range beyond the current standard of approximately 90 miles.”

      I’m guessing it will share the same platform (i.e. dedicated EV platform) as the Leaf 2.0. It all comes down to range. Technically 100 miles is beyond the current standard, but it will fail in light of Model III. If it instead comes in at 150 miles with CHAdeMO, there could be room in the market for both of them.

      Of course, Infiniti has nothing like Tesla’s supercharging network. That is, unless they join them.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        It is NOT just range and DCFC.

        It is also performance and safety.

        At that price level, people would expect upgraded performance. Using the same Nissan powertrain with larger battery will get you the range, NOT the performance.

        Also, safety rating is poor on the LEAF. That won’t cut it against the Tesla’s approach for Safety.

        1. Brian says:

          Seeing as nothing is stated about powertrain, we are both just guessing. An Altima 2.5 and Altima 3.5S certainly “share an architectural platform”, but they have different engines. You clearly choose to believe that the LE will have the same 80kW motor as the Leaf. I choose to believe that Infiniti is smart than that and will have something in the 120-150kW range. This is possible partly because of the larger battery, which can source more power. But neither of us knows what it will be.

          As for safety, the Leaf scores “poor” in one particular crash, which wasn’t even tested for when the car was designed. Now that the new procedures are know, Nissan/Infiniti have an opportunity to fix the problem.

          Look, I’m not saying that the LE is going to be king of its segment. I’m just saying that there is a good chance it will be competitive with the Model III, and that both will sell well.

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            The 2.5 and 3.5V6 analogy is hardly applies here. Both of those engines are used in a wide range of Nissan products so the cost is fairly low.

            To do that in a limited volume LEAF and LE would greatly increase cost.

            Additional power would also require an upgrade in battery cooling system and inverters which affect the platform as well.

            As far as Safety goes, LEAF did poorly in the IIHS’s latest smaller overlap frontal crash. But it also ONLY got a 4-star from NHTSA crash testing also. (2011/2012 had 5 stars and 2013/2014 lost a star due to the slight modification). So, it just doesn’t ace any of the crash test rating so far…

            Of course, hopefully by the time LE comes out, the LEAF would be on a 2nd gen platform that would potentially have all safety issues address. But so far it doesn’t look good.

            Also, with a much higher power rating (150KW won’t do it with the higher weight of the battery), it would require some kind of liquid cooling. That would affect platform design as well.

            1. Josh says:

              My suspicion on the LE drivetrain would be, it would have rear wheel drive and use two of the leaf motors.

              That would give the LE 160 kW and the ability to do some torque vectoring. It would fit in with Nissan’s strategy of only using coming power plants.

              If you pair this with a battery with twice the capacity (~48 kWh), your discharge rate would be roughly the same as the LEAF so battery cooling needs shouldn’t be much different. The LEAF motors are already liquid cooled.

            2. Brian says:

              At the risk of being repetitive, I would say that it absolutely could apply here. According to Automotive News, the LE “will share an architectural platform with the Nissan Leaf”. It says nothing about the power train. Economy of scale is a red herring. Both cars are very new to the market, of course they won’t have as many units to amortize cost over. Nissan is taking a risk, and investing upfront for what they see as a large market in the future.

              Safety is always important in cars. But since this is a new platform, I will wait and see rather than jump to conclusions based on the current less-than-stellar version.

              Liquid cooling? Well many have argued that the current Leaf “needs” liquid cooling. In many ways, they are correct (unless you life in Japan or the Pacific NW). We have yet to see what becomes of the “lizard battery” after an Arizona summer or two. But a battery twice the size can source twice as much current with the same amount of heating. I don’t think it is as bad as you are making it out to be.

              1. ModernMarvelFan says:

                Liquid cooling is needed for DCFC…

  9. GeorgeS says:

    I’ll be in the market for a new EV when this comes out and it would be a contender. I wonder if they will put just a tad more battery in it to make it the same range as the Leaf as I am guessing it will be heavier and have more drag than the 150 mile leaf.

    If it has less range than the 150 mile leaf then I would probably just go with the Leaf.

  10. evnow says:

    I’d place the range closer to 200 – otherwise they can’t compete with Model 3 (or have to price much lower than 3).

    Besides – Leaf will get a good range upgrade around 130 to 150 miles you mention. So, Infiniti got to offer something more – like Andy Palmer said earlier. BTW, Andy said the timing would be early 2016 = followed by Leaf later.

  11. kdawg says:

    I’m reminded of all the ELR angst. So is it fair to say this is just a gussied up Leaf? “Lipstick on a pig”?

    1. Rob Stark says:

      Yes,

      If they charge a $10k-$15k premium for the upgraded bits and premium styling then that is fair.

      If they charge $40k premium then Infiniti and LE owners should be ridiculed.

    2. Josh says:

      See my post above, but RWD and double the power with more range would justify the premium.