Infiniti Q Inspiration production car likely to get electrification rolling

SHANGHAI — Infiniti’s first electric vehicle likely will be the production version of the Q Inspiration concept, Automotive News has learned.

The EV initially will be produced in China in three years.

The flagship sedan, to be built using a new electrified powertrain, first appeared as a concept car at the 2018 Detroit auto show and is one of three concepts Infiniti has shown in the last year as it begins to transform itself into an electrified brand.

Infiniti plans to electrify its entire portfolio from 2021 onward, using the e-Power serial hybrid or full-electric powertrains. But the company has been considering different ideas.

“With electrification, we aim to express performance in authentic and innovative ways,” said Infiniti’s executive design director, Habib Karim. “New electric vehicle architecture will enable the creation of spacious, comfortable, loungelike interiors.”

Last week in Shanghai, Infiniti showed a different concept, the Qs Inspiration, which Infiniti President Christian Meunier described as “an inspiration of what future sedans will look like.”

Infiniti believes that electrification could slow the decline of sedan sales. Electrification opens up the sedan’s interior and creates more passenger and cargo space by swapping bulky engines and transmissions for diminutive motors and inverters. The heavy battery, the heart of the EV, provides rigidity and lowers the vehicle’s center of gravity.

The electric powertrain “gives you a ton of opportunity to have a lot more space, a lot more functionality and a bigger cargo area,” Meunier said. “So I think a lot of people who migrated to SUVs are going to come back to electric sedans.”