Infiniti’s Project Black S prototype sports Formula One hybrid tech

Formula One cars have little in common with ordinary road cars, which is a problem for the automakers that pour millions of dollars into the sport every year, and the fans who watch these remarkable machines from the sidelines. Debuting at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, the Infiniti Project Black S hints at how F1 tech could make it into cars normal people can drive.

This is actually the second Project Black S Infiniti has shown. The first car, unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, was a design study, but Infiniti claims this second car has some actual engineering behind it. The Nissan luxury brand said the car was developed in concert with the Renault Sport F1 team. Renault and Infiniti parent Nissan are joined at the hip in a corporate alliance, and Renault’s F1 cars wear some Infiniti branding.

The Project Black S is based on the Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400, and uses that model’s 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6. Infiniti and the Renault race team modified the powertrain to incorporate a hybrid system that, as in an F1 car, gets electricity from two sources. A “motor generator unit-kinetic (MGU-K)” harvests energy from braking, similar to the regenerative braking systems in production hybrids and all-electric cars. A special pair of turbochargers comprise the “motor generator unit-heat (MGU-H)” element, using heat from the exhaust to generate electricity.

That electricity is stored in a 4.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and can be used in two ways. It can spool up the turbochargers to make the gasoline engine more responsive, or power an electric motor that works with the V6 to turn the rear wheels. The hybrid system adds about 200 kilograms (440 pounds), according to Infiniti, so a diet that included replacing the stock steel hood, trunk lid, fenders, and roof with carbon-fiber pieces was instituted to counteract that. Having a lot of extra power helps too.

The hybrid system adds 163 horsepower to the V6’s output, for a total of 563 hp. Infiniti estimates the Project Black S will do zero to 62 mph in under four seconds. The stock Q60 seven-speed automatic transmission handles shifting duties.

Aside from the powertrain, Infiniti made some modifications to the bodywork to improve aerodynamic efficiency. That included a rear spoiler modeled on the one used by the Renault F1 team at Italy’s high-speed Monza circuit. The race team gave designers access to digital modeling tools to fine tune all of the changes, Infiniti said.

Infiniti refers to the Project Black S as a “prototype” rather than a concept car, indicating that it might be more than just auto-show eye candy. An Infiniti press release also said the automaker “believes there is potential for a new model grade” offering greater performance. But it’s unclear if Infiniti would actually put a car like this into production.

When Infiniti was associated with the Red Bull Racing F1 team, it unveiled a high-performance version of the Q50 sedan called the Eau Rouge. Despite a positive reaction from enthusiasts, that car never went into production. Infiniti currently lacks a challenger to the high-performance models from BMW M and Mercedes-AMG; maybe the Japanese automaker should stop teasing and actually build one.

Infiniti does plan to build more hybrids, though. The luxury brand plans to offer a hybrid or all-electric powertrain option on every model by 2021.

Updated on October 1, 2018: Added more technical details and photos.

Gaming

‘Fortnite’ removes the Infinity Blade weapon after player backlash

Following player backlash over the Infinity Blade weapon's inclusion in Fortnite's battle royale mode, Epic Games decided to remove the weapon from the game completely. It was not limited to a special mode.
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.
Gaming

Some ‘Fortnite’ players aren’t too happy with the new Infinity Blade weapon

The most recent update for Fortnite added the Infinity Blade melee weapon to battle royale, and some players aren't happy with how much it has changed the game during competitions.
Gaming

‘Fortnite’ adds sword from ‘Infinity Blade,’ which disappears from App Store

Epic Games has added the Infinity Blade melee weapon to Fortnite just as it pulled all three games in the Infinity Blade trilogy from sale. The games are still available to download if you bought them.
Cars

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.
Cars

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.
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

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.
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.
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.