As far back as October 2009 – when the Nissan LEAF EV was first revealed - we learnt that Nissan were planning the LEAF to be just the start of their EV adventure and that they were planning more electric cars built on the same underpinnings as the LEAF and one of those would be an Infiniti. And here its is, the Infiniti LE.
At first glance you wouldn’t think the Infiniti LE shared anything with the LEAF, but it does. Yes, it will get the updates in the pipeline for the LEAF, including more efficient use of its power for ancillaries and an improvement in range as well as extra batteries for a bit more oomph.
But apart from that, the Infiniti LE is pure LEAF under the skin. Infiniti do want the LE to be more aggressive than the LEAF and will offer more usable power for better performance (probably sub 10 seconds to 62mph instead of the wrong side of 11 seconds the LEAF offers).
Nissan reckon that they will be able to produce 400,000 EVs a year by 2015 and Infiniti want a decent chunk of those to be the LE EV. In terms of visual appeal the Infiniti LE hits more right notes than the LEAF, but the future market for EVs is, and will remain, small because of the useless range. Nissan reckon the LEAF can do 100 miles on a charge in perfect conditions, but the reality is you’d better not reckon on going further than 20 miles from home if you want to get back.
If Infiniti are going to offer more performance from the LED – even with more batteries – they’d better make sure buyers don’t want to go much further than the end of the road or they’ll never get home again.
And with a total sales volume of just 144 cars across the entire Infiniti range in the first three months of 2012 in the UK, Infiniti’s assertion that they intend to go for volume with the LE should be interesting to watch.
Infiniti LE EV Concept Photo Gallery
(4 photos – click any thumbnail for full size)