New York 2012: Infiniti LE Concept is a Luxurious Sedan Version of the Leaf

Yes, this is a more glamorous version of the Nissan Leaf electric car. The Infiniti LE concept, bowing at the New York auto show today, is an upmarket, sedan take on the Leaf. Despite the concept name, this car is definitely going into production. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn confirmed today that the LE will be on sale within 24 months, and the concept is 85 percent similar to the production model.

“In the future, luxury will be both desirable and sustainable,” said Ghosn. “[The LE] is a perfect addition to the growing Infiniti lineup.”

The car’s powertrain is a 100-kW electric motor that’s rated for 134 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. That’s stronger than the motor in the Nissan Leaf (107 hp and 207 lb-ft) so that the Infiniti has faster acceleration. A 24-kWh lithium-ion battery mounted below the passenger compartment should enable a maximum driving range of 100 miles.

“It is designed to stimulate, not to sedate,” said Ghosn of the car’s driving performance.

Design-wise, futuristic curves and blue LED lighting define the LE sedan. The interior packs two touch-screen interfaces in the dashboard, along with a unique palm-shaped transmission selector in the center console. There’s also a special wireless charger under the rear diffuser, allowing for charging simply by parking over a special pad mounted to the floor of a garage. Infiniti plans to be the first automaker to commercialize wireless car chargers. To make charging easier still, the LE concept has a special self-park system to automatically position itself above the wireless charging point.

Infiniti plans to grow its lineup to sell 500,000 cars annually by 2015. That growth in sales will be fueled not only by new models, but also by expanding the brand’s reach to Australia and Chile.

For more on the Infiniti LE concept, check out our First Look here. For more on the 2012 New York International Auto Show, including videos, the latest photos, and more information, click here to visit our New York Show homepage.

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