The electric range-extended Infiniti EMERG-E Concept was on show at the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed , and a ‘production-ready’ version with a revised exterior and a new interior even drove up the hill.
The Infiniti EMERG-E is a concept car that, due to its stunning design, attracted huge crowds in the Supercar Paddock at Goodwood. Virtually all onlookers were trying to work out what it was, and what was underneath the curvaceous exterior.
is actually based on the Lotus Evora 414E platform, which features a powertrain comprised of an electric motor together with a range-extender engine. The Japanese Infiniti brand and Lotus may sound like an unusual combination, but the two companies came together as part of a UK government-funded Technology Strategy Board project .
Whilst Lotus focused on developing an electric range-extender powertrain for the Evora chassis, Infiniti came up with the dramatic styling and created the bodywork (in Coventry).
At Goodwood, there was the original EMERG-E concept which sat as a static display on the Infiniti stand, but there were also two running prototypes with ‘production-ready’ design – even though the car has not yet been confirmed for production. The exterior styling of the EMERG-E had been refined since the initial concept, and the car also featured a new interior, shown here for the first time.
The Infiniti EMERG-E
can also cover up to 30 miles in electric-only mode , when it has zero emissions. When the battery runs down, the car runs on its petrol generator .
This is the same principle as the
, but there’s one interesting difference with the Infiniti EMERG-E; rather than take an existing engine as in the Ampera and Volt, the Lotus generator has been developed specifically as a range-extender – and a key result of this is that it’s lighter than a conventional internal combustion engine.
The powertrain system includes the 3-cylinder, 1.2-litre range-extending engine, two electric motors, and a lithium-ion battery. It has a power output of 402 bhp (300 kW). Because the car has a range-extender, the battery can be smaller, lighter and cheaper.
Lotus’s plan is for there to be three range-extender engines, designed for different types of cars – a 2-cylinder, a 3-cylinder and a supercharged 3-cylinder.
Electric cars offer zero-carbon motoring, and although they have instant torque from standstill, because they have no engine noise and no gears they aren’t as engaging to drive as cars such as a petrol-powered Lotus . So Lotus has attempted to solve this problem by developing a simulated seven-speed paddle gearshift – along with simulated noise and even simulated torque changes.
The Infiniti EMERG-E is the first Infiniti that has been developed in Europe, and it was designed in London. It makes complete sense for Infiniti’s potential ‘halo’ product to combine impressive styling, high performance, and low emissions. It also has a carbon-fibre body, an area where it currently differs from the Evora.
The Infiniti EMERG-E had a slight technical glitch when it drove up the hill at Goodwood on the Friday, but it was one of the first times that the car had been driven in public, so such issues with prototypes are not uncommon. Green Car Guide is due to drive the Lotus version of the car very soon, when technical issues will hopefully have been sorted, so we’ll report back on what the combination of an Evora chassis and an electric range-extender powertrain is like to drive.
The key question is whether Infiniti will get the green light from parent company Nissan to build the EMERG-E.
• Read our feature about the electric range-extended Lotus Evora
• Read about our first UK drive of the hybrid Infiniti M35h