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Infiniti Tests Advanced Electric Sports Car In Full Public View

Mere months after unveiling a non-working version of its Emerg-E concept at the Geneva Motor Show, Infiniti has a drivable prototype of the electric car making runs at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The annual event in the south of England celebrates motor sports and draws automakers from across the globe, eager to tout their latest products in a so-called “moving motor show” where cars are driven through a hill climb course in front of spectators.

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“Goodwood is a very public demonstration and we’ll learn so much there. We’re almost doing our development and tuning in full view of the public,” said Jerry Hardcastle, vice president of vehicle design and development at Nissan, Infiniti’s parent company.

Driving on a twisty, narrow road course known for causing crashes isn’t the typical treatment for a one-off prototype whose cost must be in the millions. That’s because Emerg-E is more than just another pipe dream like so many unveiled at auto shows. It’s a study in future technology that is partially funded by the U.K. government’s Technology Strategy Board.

The TSB’s investment allowed Nissan to draw on resources beyond its normal supplier base and partner with Lotus Engineering and other U.K.-based tech companies. Thus, the Emerg-E project will not only prove Nissan’s capabilities with alternative propulsion, but also the U.K.’s.

“In Emerg-E, we’re trying to study and investigate and showcase two things: one is the potential of a mid-engine sportscar for the Infiniti range, and the second is of a new range-extended powertrain,” Hardcastle said.

The Infiniti Emerg-E has two electric motors, one powering each wheel. Together they produce 402 horsepower and make the car capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in four seconds. The Emerg-E has a 30-mile electric-only range, after which a small three-cylinder gasoline engine kicks in to recharge the lithium-ion battery pack. The car can also be plugged in to recharge.


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