NAIAS 2019: Infiniti debuts QX Inspiration SUV concept
The Infiniti midsize EV concept (eventually) makes its premiere in Detroit.
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It’s an electrifying time at Infiniti as the brand prepares for its first all-electric vehicle. “In our mid-term, we are going to launch eight EVs between Nissan and Infiniti. So right now, what you’re seeing in both brands is the ‘what if’. We’re going to make decisions fairly soon about what it becomes,” Alfonso Albaisa, senior VP of Nissan told Automotive Engineering at the 2019 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).
The NAIAS debut of the Infiniti QX Inspiration midsize SUV EV concept was about two hours after the brand’s press conference concluded. The delay was unexpected, but not unusual in the realm of concept vehicle hiccups, this one attributed to steering wheel failure. But even a technical glitch didn’t dampen Albaisa’s enthusiasm for the concept. “We’re playing with ideas,” Albaisa said, “But many things – like the geometry and the packaging – we’re taking seriously.”
The midsize SUV concept uses the flat floor EV platform to make the most of interior space. “Even though there’s a [marble] center console, it’s so thin and it doesn’t go all the way forward. So in autonomous driving, you can tilt your seats a little bit inward and have a conversation with the person next to you,” Albaisa said about the cabin’s lounge aesthetic.
Several automakers will be rolling out production EVs in the near-term. The first Mercedes-Benz model under a new product and technology brand, EQ, is slated to go on sale in the U.S. in 2020. E-tron will be Audi’s first full electric vehicle, and it is slated to arrive in European dealerships in 2019.
According to Christian Meunier, chairman and global president, “Infiniti will electrify its entire portfolio from 2021 forward. Infiniti vehicles will be powered by either battery-electric or a technology we call e-POWER,” he said. E-POWER technology uses a small gasoline engine to charge a high-output battery. By 2025, the automaker expects that more than half of its global sales will be EVs.
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