Infiniti LE: luxury’s electric future

Infiniti LE front three-quarterThe small pool of luxury electric vehicles is dominated by upstarts Fisker and Tesla, but now a mainstream manufacturer is bringing a luxury EV to the market. Infiniti, Nissan’s upscale brand, showed an electric car concept at the 2012 New York Auto Show. This concept, called the LE, closely resembles a car that will hit Infiniti showrooms soon.

Nissan was the first company to sell a mass-market EV, the Leaf, but the LE is targeted at a different group of buyers. The company said the LE was designed as a luxury car first, and an EV second. To start, the LE is a fiver-passenger sedan, a much more regal body style than the hatchback Leaf. It also has enough styling cues to tie it to other Infiniti models. The flowing creases along its sides echo the M sedan, while the headlights and grille resemble those of the JX crossover. The grille also lights up, a cool feature that might cause people to confuse the LE with a police car.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn was adamant that the LE is “100 percent Infiniti,” and not just because of the styling. He said it was “designed to stimulate, not sedate.” Every car, EV or gasoline, should be engaging to drive, so hopefully Ghosn is right.Infiniti LE rear three-quarter

Ghosn wouldn’t let anyone peak under the hood of this flashy concept car, but it will most likely be based on the Nissan Leaf. With its 24 kWh battery pack, the Nissan can do 0-60 mph in 11 seconds, and go about 79 miles on a charge; Infiniti may tweak the powertrain for more performance. Ghosn said the LE will have a 100-mile range. It will also come with a wireless charging pad (think of it as an oversized Power Mat).

Infiniti wouldn’t divulge the price either, but a Tesla Model S or Fisker Atlantic cost about $60,000 each. The LE is based on existing technology (Nissan has already sold many Leafs), so economies of scale might make it cheaper. The Fisker and Tesla look a lot better than the slightly pugnacious Infiniti, but the LE comes with the security of an established manufacturer. Ghosn said the LE concept is an 85 percent likeness of the production car, so it should be ready for test drives soon. The only question is: will the production version’s grille glow in the dark too?

Cars

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Cars

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti has released a teaser image to preview a concept it will unveil at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The yet-unnamed design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language.
Mobile

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Cars

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.
Cars

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Mobile

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.
Cars

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.
Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.
Cars

Aston Martin’s 1,000-hp Valkyrie will boast the Mona Lisa of the engine world

Aston Martin has released new details about its F1-inspired Valkyrie hypercar. Co-developed with Red Bull Racing, the Valkyrie will be one of the most aerodynamic production cars ever made.
Cars

The redesigned 2020 Passat shows Volkswagen still believes in sedans

The sedan segment in America is shrinking, but Volkswagen still believes in it. The German firm has released a teaser sketch to preview the redesigned 2020 Passat it will introduce during the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
Cars

What’s next for in-car entertainment? Audi believes it knows

Audi is bringing two technologies to CES 2019. The first turns a car -- a luxury sedan, in this case -- into a drive-in movie theater. The second is presented as a new entertainment format that turns the journey into the destination.