By Mark Kleis
Thursday, Apr 5th, 2012 @ 11:35 am
Continuing its series of eco-minded concept car releases in the last year, Nissan's luxury arm, Infiniti, has taken the opportunity presented by the 2012 New York Auto Show to unveil yet another eco-concept.

Unlike the cars before it, however, the Infiniti LE Concept is already confirmed to have production intent. This car is based on the all-electric Nissan Leaf, but arrives with more power, torque, and of course, luxury.

While the Leaf boasts but 107 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque, the LE Concept arrives with 134 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, figures more appropriate for a luxury vehicle. That is made possible by a 100 kilowatt synchronous electric motor, drawing juice from a laminated 24 kWh lithium-ion battery made of 192 cells.

For those of you who haven't memorized the Leaf's specifications for comparison purposes, we have, and the Leaf makes due with just 48 laminated modules and only 80 kW of power from its electric motor. Despite the boost in power, the added battery capacity allows the LE to retain an estimated 100-mile range on a full charge, compared to the EPA-approved 73-mile range of the Leaf.

One very unique trait of the LE that certainly separates it from the rest of the EVs on the road is its wireless charging capability, complete with a special rear lower fascia that illuminates to indicate that it is charging. The wireless charging system's non-contact charging is possible thanks to inductive energy flow, with a coil safely encased on the garage floor. That primary coil is connected to the wired energy source, which then creates a magnetic field that excites electric current in a second coil in the LE Concept. The high-frequency charging, controlled by the twin display or smartphone, is safe for children and pets and can be installed in a home garage - just don't expect to find these charge points in public parking spots any time soon.

Other style points of the car include an Infiniti signature double-arch grille, a crescent-cut rear pillar, special aerodynamic front and rear fascias, side fin spoilers with Infiniti EV Blue illumination, full LED headlights and taillights and chrome door handles with a colored finisher.

Wheels for the LE are of the 19-inch variety, albeit with aero dynamism treatment, with tires sized at 225/40R19 and of the low rolling resistance type for improved "fuel" economy. As expected, the only wheels being fed power are those in the front of the car.

The interior features a double-wave layout that is heavily accentuated by Infiniti EV Blue lighting, as well as Infiniti EV meters that combine analog and digital displays, a twin display center cluster with Intel Inside, "Hamon"ť (ripple) center console finish while a traditional Japanese "HAKU"ť silver leaf finish is used on the trim.

Expect the Infiniti LE Concept to undergo some design changes before coming to market some time around 2015.

Live photos by Mark Elias.

Live images

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