Infiniti will debut a mid-engine, two-seat sports car at next year’s Geneva show. We spoke with Wayne Bruce, director of communications for Infiniti Europe who told us that a sporty electric two-seater will likely be a range-extended EV, as Infiniti told us that it will have zero emissions capability. This car is only another possibility for a range-topping Infiniti sports car, just as the Essence concept from the 2009 Geneva Motor Show was.
Autocar also spoke with Andy Palmer, head of global communications at Infiniti, this week’s Frankfurt show that an electric sports car and learned that it could borrow technology from parent company Nissan’s Leaf Nismo RC one-off racer. The car will be both Nissan and Infiniti’s first mid-engine concept since the 1980s-era Nissan MID4. Palmer said the new car could use components derived from the Leaf Nismo RC, a car Nissan claims can hit 60 mph in 6.85 seconds thanks to a 40-percent weight reduction compared to the road-going Leaf.
If the Leaf Nismo RC is to lend some of its electric performance mojo to the new Infiniti, we can expect power to be sent to the rear wheels, perhaps from the same 80-kW AC motor and lithium-ion batteries found in the standard Leaf. Autocar speculates that a small-capacity gasoline engine range-extender may occupy the space between the front and rear axles, giving the car the mid-engine distinction that Nissan so desires. As with other extended-range EVs (EREV), the internal combustion engine in Infiniti’s upcoming sports car will kick in when the batteries are depleted, only acting as a supplementary generator for the car’s electric motor.
Autocar also reports that new marketing partner Red Bull Racing could collaborate with Infiniti on the development of the new car. As we’ve reported previously, Red Bull Racing has been considering jointly developing a road car with the Japanese luxury automaker for some time. Whether or not this mid-engine EREV is that car remains to be seen. Autocar says the car is scheduled to go on sale by the middle of the decade, and will make its debut next March at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.