Infiniti Is Ready To Rumble In The EV Sports Car Market

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Infiniti is not going to be confused as a serious mover and shaker in the premium market, at least in the way Mercedes, BMW, and Audi are treated. However, Nissan’s upscale brand did make some strong gains in 2016 when it delivered more than 230,000 vehicles for the entire year. Not only was that number up seven percent compared to its total in 2015, it also represented a new sales record for the company. So with bright and sunny days seemingly ahead for Infiniti, now appears to be a good a time as any for the brand to drop big news regarding its future. Well, Infiniti did just that by confirming plans to bring an electric sports car to market by 2020.

No less than Infiniti chief Roland Krueger confirmed the news to Autocar, saying that he’d already seen an early prototype of the car. Krueger didn’t dive into the details on what the EV performance car is going to look like or how much power it’s going to have, but he did say that the car would ride on a completely new platform and will be grounded on providing customers with impressive performance capabilities and impeccable handling abilities. Knowing this, it’s likely that Infiniti will tap into the pool of resources it has at its disposal courtesy of Nissan , the parent firm that has been in the business of electric cars for quite some time now, albeit in a far different capacity that what Infiniti plans to do with this new performance EV.

As far as speculating on this new EV sports car is concerned, we can harken back to the Emerg-e that Infiniti unveiled as an early concept of a potential hybrid-electric performance car. That’s not to say that the Emerg-E is going to be the complete peg of this future EV sports car, but the concept was packaged as an aggressive two-door sports coupe with a pair of electric motors that worked in concert with a range-extending three-cylinder engine to produce a total output of 420 horsepower, a range of up to 300 miles, and a 0-to-60-mph sprint time of just four seconds. Even by today’s standards, those figures fit into what an electric sports car is capable of.

Let’s hope than that Infiniti doesn’t spend the next three years developing this EV sports under a blanket of secrecy.

Infiniti’s objectives with this new EV sports car

When I mentioned that Infiniti isn’t held in the same esteem as Mercedes, BMW, and Audi, I meant it in such a way that the market for the Japanese brand isn’t as big as the markets for these German titans. Whereas they can build entire lineups of EV models with sub-ranges among themselves, Infiniti has to play it smart with its choices. Roland Krueger alluded to as much in an interview with Autocar last year that one of the biggest reasons for green lighting this EV sports car is the potential it has to attract even more customers to the brand, specifically those who are from the world’s largest auto market.

“When I think about EV, we design it for China definitely,” Krueger said. “We are discussing this internally constantly what is the right timing for Infiniti to have such vehicles.” The important word in Krueger’s comments there is ‘timing,’ something that Infiniti has to greatly rely on if it hopes to make a big impact with its car.

That’s also probably one of the reasons why the company has earmarked 2020 as the date for the EV sports car’s release. Having a three-year window to develop the car gives Infiniti enough time to really put its best foot forward with the model. I don’t really think that the automaker is looking at it as a vehicle that will open a lot of doors for the company, but rest assured, company execs still have high hopes for the car and what it could mean for the brand moving forward.

At the very least, the fact that it’s being packaged as a performance car is a big win just by itself considering that Infiniti isn’t really particularly known for having an extensive lineup of sports cars in its current family of models. In fact, the one performance car that really put Infiniti on the map didn’t even make it to production. Yes, I’m talking about the Nissan GT-R-powered Q50 Eau Rouge. Hopefully, this new EV sports car doesn’t suffer the same fate as the Eau Rouge, a model that I’m still secretly hoping will end up getting released at some point in the future.

Read our full review on the Infiniti EMERG-E here.

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