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Infiniti Emerge-E : An Electric Luxury

The Renault-Nissan alliance has been investing heavily in electric-powered vehicles meant for the near future. That’s no secret. What is an open secret is that its luxury brand Infiniti will launch an all-electric amidships sportscar as early as next year!

 

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Again, electric luxury cars are not new. Tesla and Fisker are pretty much there. And they look very much the part. Nissan too has its fair share of electrics, like the Leaf hatchback, which is a pretty neat drive itself. That brings us back to its luxury brand Infiniti and the Emerg-E concept first shown at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. We were among the handful of media persons worldwide to get behind the wheel of the car at a recent Nissan event. While we drove what was one of only two running prototypes ever made, insiders say this is very close to production.

Based on a Lotus Evora, the Emerg-E looks the part of a hypercar with its flowing sleek lines and curvaceous body. A long bonnet, small cockpit and even smaller but pronounced rear make for a classic design that would fit very well even in futuristic Hollywood movies. Unlike the concept shown, this has proper, aerodynamically-shaped side view mirrors and a working rear wing.

 

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Power is in plenty – equivalent to 402bhp – and all of it comes from two transversely-placed electric motors that individually power the rear wheels on either side. The range from only electric power is currently under 50km, but the good part is that there is a three-cylinder petrol-powered generator that charges the Lithium-ion batteries when fully discharged, thus extending the range on the car before you can reach your destination and plug it back. Interestingly, the motor is sourced from Lotus because the concept was built on an Evora. Nevertheless, unlike the concept, the prototype had a spartan but distinct interior.

 

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You do not hear the car come to life. But floor the throttle and the Emerg-E doesn’t think twice before lunging forward. We drove the car around a very short and tight track but the big car changed directions without a hint of understeer – the mid-engine bit helping keep the balance right. The steering was heavy but precise, and the ride wasn’t bad despite those massive wheels with low profile tyres. The only irksome bit was when the generator comes to life, resulting in a rather irksome drone. No wonder Infiniti calls it a generator and not a petrol engine – it sounds like one.

 

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To the world, which includes India and Nepal, Infiniti is a relatively new brand. Established in 1985, with the first car breaking cover in 1989, it has seen some good quality cars, and put segment-first innovation – including the first reversing camera and lane assist systems – into mass-produced passenger cars more than a decade ago. The current lot is very America-focussed, but they are now changing gears, designing and making cars for the world and the future. The production Emerg-E could set the ball rolling. Thankfully, we don’t have to wait too long to find out.

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