Infiniti has recently launched in the UK but with cars featuring very high emissions, so it’s welcome news that a hybrid has now been confirmed.
Infiniti is Nissan’s prestige brand that is a natural rival to Lexus, so it’s not surprising that a hybrid is planned – it’s just surprising that they’ve launched in the UK without a hybrid.
The Infiniti M35 HYBRID will be its first production hybrid vehicle and will form part of the recently announced M range of luxury performance saloons. Infiniti says that its hybrid will also deliver driving pleasure as well as efficiency.
The model will be on sale from spring 2011 – depending on the market – however details of performance and emissions figures from the 3.5-litre V6 hybrid have not yet been released.
The M35 HYBRID is the brand’s first hybrid in its 20-year existence, as well as the cleanest and most economical car in its history. It’s based on the all-new Infiniti M which itself picks up styling cues from Essence, the concept that made its debut at the Geneva Auto Show early in 2009.
The M35 HYBRID will be a high performance rear-wheel drive luxury saloon with the fuel economy and CO2 emissions of a smaller car.
Infiniti’s hybrid system, developed solely within Infiniti’s parent group, is a one electric motor/twin clutch arrangement. Innovatively, the first clutch is installed between the naturally-aspirated 3.5-litre V6 and the electric motor. Infinite says that the result of this engineering configuration, where all components act on a single propshaft to the rear differential, is a consistent driving feel under all conditions with linear performance and direct responses.
The electric motor acts as both propulsion unit, boosting the V6 in “power assist” mode when maximum acceleration is required, and also as a generator. As well as charging the battery, the motor recovers energy otherwise lost during deceleration and braking. The M35 HYBRID can also run solely on its electric motor in certain driving conditions.
Several new technologies will be introduced such as a new “laminated” lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack that is the same size as conventional batteries but offers twice the power. Lamination enhances the pack’s cooling performance while temperature stability is further improved by the use of manganese positive electrodes, to ensure battery reliability.
The M35 HYBRID will join the conventionally-engined M models – including a new high-performance diesel V6 for Western Europe – as the first generation of Infiniti’s luxury performance saloon to be sold across all of its world markets which currently number 33 countries. Depending on market, sales of the conventionally-engined M models are expected to start from spring 2010, with the M35 HYBRID arriving around 12 months later.