If, as most of the media is convinced, the world’s luxury automakers are all scrambling to deliver a competitor for Tesla’s Model S, then it would seem only logical for Nissan, builder of the world’s top-selling EV, to produce an upscale EV under its luxury brand, Infiniti.
In fact, the gentlemen from Yokohama already thought of that, over three years ago, and introduced the Infiniti LE concept, with some nifty luxury features such as inductive charging, at the 2012 New York Auto Show.
However, the LE soon faded from the headlines, and in mid-2013, Infiniti’s newly-hired CEO, Johan de Nysschen (reputed to be an anti-EV partisan) confirmed that the model had been put on indefinite hold. A year later, Infiniti had a different boss, and Automotive News reported that the LE, with a “next-generation battery,” was back in the pipeline.
In January of this year, it was off again, as VP for the Americas Michael Bartsch said that Infiniti had cancelled its EV plans, a “pragmatic” move that would allow it to focus on higher-volume segments.
Now Infiniti has a full roster of new models on the drawing board, scheduled to roll out between 2016 and 2018. Meanwhile, Nissan execs say that the next-gen LEAF will have a new battery system with a range of well over 200 miles. Are the stars finally in line for an electric Infiniti?
Automotive News believes so, reporting that “an Infiniti electric car is back in the longer-range product plans for now.” No details (and no source) were cited, but the likely time frame is said to be 2018-2019.