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Nissan Leaf gets a fancy brother: The Infiniti LE

The first complaint about current mainstream electric vehicle options is that they don’t offer enough range. The second is that they only come in small and, some might say, unattractive packages like the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-Miev. Infiniti may not have solved the former problem, but it’s done its best to solve the latter with the LE concept. The concept gives the Nissan Leaf a sportier, more upscale brother.

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Infiniti has shown us a few takes on sporty green cars in the Essence and E-Merge, but it is a lot more serious about this one. In debuting the model at this week’s New York Auto Show, Infiniti said that this is a “production intent” concept and will be on the market within two years. The company also said its “near similar form” to the production model, so it’s clear this isn’t just a fanciful EV concept designed to attract show goers to Infiniti’s booth.

In designing the LE, Infiniti set out to make an Infiniti that was electric, not an electric car with an Infiniti label. Key toward that goal was showing that “zero emission does not have to mean small.” Rather than a small hatchback, Infiniti made a proper, fastback-style sedan that’s about the same length as its current G Sedan. From that basic principle, Infiniti added signature design cues like the double-arch grille and crescent-cut rear pillar. It sculpted a defined belt line that provides a sense of speed and power. The LE may not be nearly as dramatic as the Essence or E-merge, but it’s definitely lighter on the eyes than a Leaf.
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