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Infiniti LE Concept To Become First Infiniti Electric

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On: Mon, Apr 9, 2012 at 11:53AM | By: Chris Weiss

Infiniti LE Concept To Become First Infiniti Electric

Infiniti introduced the LE concept at this week's New York Auto Show. The company plans to bring the car to market as its first fully electric car.

After toying with green concepts like the Essence and Emerg-E, Infiniti finally has a winner. It said that it plans to get the LE electric to market within the next two years. The model promises to bring a little normality - sexiness even - to a segment defined by small, awkward hatchbacks.

Sporty touches include a flowing character line that cuts around sharp LED headlamps and a rear aero diffuser. It looks a bit chunky and awkward from the rear, but looks pretty nice from the front and side - especially when you remember the whole zero emissions thing. Infiniti was careful to make sure the design reads "Infiniti" first, "EV" second.

Infiniti didn't detail the powertrain, but said the electric motor puts out 240 lb.-ft. of torque (the Leaf's motor puts out 207 lb.-ft.) and offers "exceptional acceleration," whatever that means in the context of a mainstream electric luxury car. It's powered by a 24 kWh lithium ion battery pack.

"A luxury car for a new generation of sustainable luxury buyers must not compromise on performance. Buyers want ‘green,’ but won’t settle for any aspect of the driving experience being less than that of their current luxury vehicles,” explained Infiniti Americas Vice President Ben Poore in a press release. "For those who have never driven a modern EV, the immediate full-torque response when you step on the accelerator is amazing. It empowers you, without overpowering you – though the temptation is always there to leave drivers in the next lane behind."

The LE concept also showcases some advanced technologies that will make it to production. Infiniti Personal Assistant delivers 24-hour concierge service, navigation, and POI search. The car can be charged from a standard charger, DC fast charger or wireless induction charging system.

We imagine the icy silver look with blue ambient lighting will become the thing of racing boy tuners when the LE hits production, but Infiniti said that the car is "near-similar form" to the production model. The production version will keep aspects like the "zero emission powertrain, advanced telematics, cutting-edge design, advanced connected services and premium appointments." We assume they'll use the same basic shape, tone down the styling a bit and rework the interior with something a little more down to earth.

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