Nissan Leaf Goes Upscale With Infiniti Makeover

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At the New York auto show today, Nissan’s luxury brand, Infiniti, unveiled the LE Concept, a car sharing many of the same drivetrain components as the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle.

This post is part of a series on the 2012 New York Auto Show.

Likely to be produced alongside the 2013 Leaf in Nissan’s Smyrna, Tennessee plant, the model provides an alternate option for shoppers seeking an EV with luxury appointments. It joins the ranks of other new and upcoming luxury electric-drive vehicles including the Tesla Roadster, Fisker Karma, BMW i-series, and Cadillac ELR.

A 24 kWh lithium-ion battery pack (the same size as the pack in the Leaf) provides juice in the LE to a 100 kW electric motor. The LE Concept’s design yields 134 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque, slightly more in both categories than that of the Leaf.

While concept models often never make it to showroom floors – rather, they serve to hint at powertrain options or design cues to come – in this case, most of what you see is what you’re going to get. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn commented at the model’s unveiling that the LE Concept is 85 percent of the way to its final production form, and will be on sale in the next 24 months. Let the waiting lists begin…

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About the author: Jim Kliesch is an engineer with expertise in fuel efficiency, battery, and hybrid electric vehicle technologies and the policies needed to turn them into real solutions for U.S. oil dependence, air pollution and global warming. He holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a master's degree in environmental and energy policy.

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2 Responses

  1. Lynn Laumann says:

    Slight correction – I believe that the upcoming luxury vehicle from Tesla is called the Model S. The Tesla Roadster is a two-seat sportscar and has been around awhile. Thanks.

    • Jim Kliesch says:

      Thanks for the clarification, Lynn. I think of the Roadster as “new,” though it’s perhaps better classified as “recent.” In addition to the Model S sedan you mentioned, Tesla is also planning to bring out the Model X crossover.