Infiniti introduces EMERG-E at Geneva Motor Show

by Ernie Hernandez on March 6, 2012

Infiniti Emerg-e front

400 Horsepower with 300 mile range

The Infiniti EMERG-E concept takes a huge leap forward in Nissan Corporation’s look at the possible future of alternative fuel vehicles.

Designed under the direction of Chief Creative Officer Shiro Nakamura, this Infiniti was developed in collaboration with Britain’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) which led to working with Lotus Engineering – which is also developing an extended range electric vehicle. Nissan and Infiniti have had a working relationship with Lotus for 10 years on engineering studies. The TSB was brought about to stimulate innovation in business more generally, and in the transportation sector to quicken the pace of bringing low carbon vehicles to the United Kingdom specifically. Universities, suppliers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) were encouraged to work together toward this end. The EMERG-E was designed at the Nissan Design Center in San Diego, California but is also the result of the efforts of Nissan Design Europe along with the European Technical Centre. In this case, the result is a mid-engine (mid-motor?) design that uses twin electric motors powering the rear wheels.

Infiniti Emerg-e rear

Two 150 kilowatt (201 horsepower) electric motors drive the rear wheels at all times for a combined 402 horsepower. Power is routed through a single speed transmission. The lithium ion battery that powers the electric motors sits behind the seats, and can move the EMERG-E 30 miles down the road prior to requiring use of the Lotus engineered 1.2 liter 35 kilowatt (47 horsepower) three cylinder engine. Infiniti did not state the battery capacity, but with a 30 mile range it will likely be in the 10 to 15 kilowatt hour range. The engine is designed to function solely as an on-board generator to extend the range up to 300 miles. To reach its top speed of 130 miles per hour, either the transmission has a significantly broader range than that used in the LEAF, or the electric motors spin to a greater rpm, or some combination of the two. It is also likely that the tires have a greater diameter than those found on the LEAF, which would be another contributing factor to a higher top speed. EMERG-E reaches 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds making it among the quickest cars around.

Infiniti Emerg-e side

Other advanced techology is found in the use of carbon fiber for the bodywork to minimize weight. When combined with the lightweight extruded aluminum chassis curb weight of the car comes it at 3,523 pounds. Coefficient of drag is a rather ordinary 0.34 Cd. Nissan’s LEAF – a far less sexy shape – comes in at 0.29 Cd. Lower is better to reduce drag and improve aerodynamic efficiency. This strengthens the argument that looking sleek and being sleek are two different things.

The TSB looks to fund projects that have a strong basis in moving from concept to reality. So while the Infiniti EMERG-E is certainly a concept vehicle, we may be looking at some variation of the technology found here in production Nissan and Infiniti vehicles in the not too distant future.

Infiniti Emerg-e at Geneva

Infiniti EMERG-E at 2012 Geneva Motor Show

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