Infiniti Prototype 9 EV Is Past Meets Present, Plus Some Next-Gen LEAF

1 month ago by Christopher Smith 17

Infiniti Prototype 9 EV

Minus the bigger battery, underneath is a fully electric powertrain that can be found in the next-generation 2018 Nissan LEAF.

Like so many storied manufacturers with a rich and long standing racing history, Infiniti is revisiting its past at the upcoming Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance with a very delectable looking concept vehicle. Beautifully crafted to resemble the manufacturer’s vintage racing machines of the 1930s, this exquisite retro racer captures everything great about Infiniti’s distant past, but with a modern twist. More on that in a moment.

But first, there’s one major problem. Infiniti was born in 1989 so it doesn’t have a distant past. Nor does it have a long standing racing history, never mind something that is even remotely close to the glorious cars of the 1930s. So what’s with this snazzy depression-era prototype?

“It started as a simple thought,” said Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti’s senior vice president of global design. “What if we found a car, down at the southern tip of Japan, buried deep in the barn, hidden from all eyes for 70 years? What if in this car we found the seed of passion planted during our first Japanese Grand Prix and the power and artistry of Infiniti today? What would this discovery look like?”

It would look like this, which according to a behind-the-scenes take from Motor Trend is called Prototype 9. It was something of an unexpected endeavor from the automaker’s Atsugi deisgn studio in Japan that was given life after managers from Nissan’s Oppama factory saw it. Nissan’s Autech division also got involved, creating a specialty build team using a combination of modern manufacturing processes with traditional hand forming and assembly. For example, the wonderfully arched aluminum tail was shaped by hand, but mounted on a grid of laser-cut steel. Isn’t that neat?

Old-meets-new continues with the powertrain. It features an all-electric setup not unlike what you’d find in the Nissan Leaf, with a rear-mounted motor generating 148 horsepower. That may not sound like much, but with only 1,962 pounds to handle, Infiniti says it will hit 60 miles per hour in 5.5 seconds. Considering the car’s underpinnings consist of leaf springs and solid axles – not to mention the period-correct narrow tires – it must be quite lively to drive.

Infiniti will be officially taking the wraps off this achingly pretty prototype next week at Pebble Beach, and we suspect it will look even better in person than it does in photos.

Infiniti 9

Infiniti 9

Source: Motor Trend

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17 responses to "Infiniti Prototype 9 EV Is Past Meets Present, Plus Some Next-Gen LEAF"

  1. peetah says:

    stunning! but what’s the point? will they actually produce it? (i hope!)

    1. Nada says:

      stunning! … and then some simply awsome

      but what’s the point? … concepts and protypes generate almost free advertising having their brand thrown up on many websites to be oohed and aheed by car fans and in Pebble Beach or at motor shows…
      Of course here they are simply called vaporware…

      will they actually produce it? (i hope!) … 0% chance

    2. mx says:

      Great idea in General, but that BLOCK NOSE needs to GO.
      They just KILLED the aerodynamics.

      Otherwise a great idea.

  2. Sublime says:

    I don’t get this prototype.
    If this was a Maserati I’d totally get it.
    They’ve declared they’re going 100% electric across their model line. They have a racing history that goes back 100 years. Make an old 1940’s 8CTF replica/retro racer and use a prototype of their future EV powertrain. It marries their storied past to their vision for the future. Great!
    Infiniti has neither a storied past or an electric vision for the future… this prototype just reminds us all of that.

    1. Nada says:

      Mainly advertising…
      You just took 5 minutes out of your life to read about Infinity and the Nissan brand…
      Mission accomplished…

    2. John Ray says:

      It is interesting that they used Infiniti. Nissan has a strong racing program. They run cars in the Daytona Prototype and GTD classes of the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship and in the ST class in the Continental series. In fact they won at Road America this past weekend.

      Honda chooses to use Acura for their racing efforts.

  3. pjwood1 says:

    Finally, a car with thinner tires than the i3!

    1. mx says:

      LOL. Surprising the i3 tires aren’t an issue unless you slalom the car, then you can feel the need for more rubber.

  4. DJ says:

    I see someone is a fan of Battlestar Galactica!

  5. jelloslug says:

    It’s time for automakers to quit making these fantasyful concepts and renders and start making real cars.

  6. VaporVal says:

    I enjoyed the posts. It’s good to see intelligent people call crap PR…er,…crap PR.

  7. philip d says:

    If it is a pure EV why does 100% of the frontal surface area made up of a grill?

    1. mx says:

      Exactly. They pulled this out of a dusty drawer.

  8. David Moore says:

    Guys, it’s a styling exercise, nothing more, nothing less. Don’t get too excited over aerodynamics and practicality.

    1. pjwood1 says:

      Really, that’s all? And I thought they were negatively branding EVs as a century-old tech failure.

  9. HotRodEV says:

    Shut up and take my money!

  10. james says:

    How many old men with 9-car garages are there in the world?

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