Infiniti EMERG-E at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show

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The Infiniti EMERG-E , an extended-range electric mid-engined sports car concept, is our top green car at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show .

The Infiniti EMERG-E has a 0-60 mph time of 4.0 seconds, a 300-mile range, and emissions of just 55 g/km CO 2 .

It 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 Vauxhall Ampera or Chevrolet Volt, but there’s one interesting difference with the Infiniti EMERG-E: the range-extender generator has been developed by Lotus. In fact, the entire Infiniti EMERG-E concept car is based on a Lotus Evora 414E platform, complete with the Lotus electric range-extender powertrain.

Infiniti EMERG-E powertrain

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.

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The Infiniti EMERG-E is the result of a collaboration between Infiniti and Lotus as part of the UK government’s Technology Strategy Board initiative. Lotus has previously worked with Jaguar Land Rover on the Limo Green project, when it was responsible for the engine and control system. The plan is that there will be three range-extender engines, designed for different types of cars – a 2-cylinder, a 3-cylinder and a supercharged 3-cylinder – all of which Lotus will be looking to sell to clients around the world.

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 Evora also uses torque vectoring technology, but it’s yet to be confirmed whether Infiniti will go down this route with the EMERG-E.

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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 aim is that the Lotus Evora and the Infiniti EMERG-E, both with the electric range-extender powertrain, will be ready to be driven this summer, and don’t worry, we’re already on the list, so we’ll be reporting back as soon as we can about how this technology works in practice. 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
Infiniti M35h

Read about our drive of the Infiniti M35h
with Christian Horner at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

See ALL of the most important
green cars at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show