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Infiniti delays LE EV launch again

First it was 2014 – now getting it right sees Infiniti pushing its debut EV back to 2016
Infiniti executives have announced yet another delay in the launch of its debut EV. The car, dubbed LE, is to be built on Nissan’s already well-established LEAF platform, but will incorporate a number of high-tech advances over the parent company’s mass-market hatch.

The primary cause of the holdup lies in one of the more significant of those features: wireless inductive charging (pictured). Working on the transfer of energy through coupled electromagnetic fields on the send and receive ends, the system allows the driver to top up the battery by simply parking the car over a charge mat. No plugging in is required, although, with the technology still in its infancy, cars would still require plugs to use public charge stations.

The technology was one of the highlights of the LE concept vehicle revealed at the 2012 New York auto show, with Infiniti execs claiming it will make an important contribution to the car’s luxe-segment selling proposition when it goes to market.

Back then, the company was expecting to begin production late this year, to go to market in 2014. Now it’s more likely to appear in late 2015 for MY16.

Asked if the delay could be taken as a cooling in the company’s enthusiasm for electric power, Nissan/Infiniti worldwide product planning head Andy Palmer said no. He told Automotive News Europe that holding off also allows Infiniti to launch the car with a next-generation lithium-ion battery pack with a better range than what would have gone to market in 2014. “There are some interesting advances in electric technology we hadn’t anticipated when we showed the LE,” he said. “By delaying a little bit, we can incorporate [them] into the car.”


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