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08 March 2012

Infiniti Emerg E: Infinitely Sexy (w/ video)

Words by Niky Tamayo | Photos and video courtesy of Infiniti USA
 
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Let's get this out of the way: I was going to title this: "Electrifying Concept Emerges", but that would have been over-the-top. Forget for the moment that the Infiniti Emerg-E is an electric sportscar concept with 402 horsepower and range-extender technology. Forget that it's made out of carbon-fiber, keeping the weight to a relatively trim 1.6 tons. Forget that it's a Japanese concept built in Europe based on a design by an American.
 
No, these are merely trivial items. The important thing here is that it's sexy. Damn sexy. The organically fluid lines sculpted into the body are something you'd expect from an Italian exotic with a seven-figure price tag, not an Infiniti. Did I mention how sexy it was yet?
 
Infiniti is conscious of this. They call the Emerg-E "400 wild horses in a silk dress." Supposedly, designer Randy Rodriguez took his cues from the slender neck of a Japanese woman. He's not saying what movie he was watching during the design process, but I'm sure it had good artistic qualities. 
 
Underneath the sleek carbon-fiber skin is a Lotus Evora platform featuring twin electric motors powering the rear wheels, with a peak discharge rate of 402 hp (combined) available in bursts of up to 30 seconds. At peak power, the Emerg-E hits 96 km/h in 4 seconds and 208 km/h flat-out in 30 seconds.
 
On electricity alone, the Emerg-E can travel 48 kilometers. Afterwards, the range extender kicks in, giving another 432 kilometers of range on a 30.6 liter tank. Back-of-the-napkin calculations give us an unofficial economy figure of 14 km/l, or 33 mpg. That's better than the Chevrolet Volt's 30 mpg on range extension mode.
 
This is one of the first times we get to see Lotus's new "range-extension" technology in action. The Emerg-E's gasoline engine is the new Lotus 3-cylinder 1.2 liter engine been built specifically as an EV range extender, and the numbers look promising. 
 
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The Lotus hardware allows for very tight packaging. Somehow, Infiniti has squeezed the motor, the gas tank, the electric motors, a bunch of inverters, and a battery pack underneath that tight looking body. A body clad with curves that would turn a supermodel green with envy.
 
Debuting at the 2012 Geneva Auto Show, the Emerg-E signals the future direction of Infiniti's design language, and the possible production of this electric sports car signals the potential direction of the brand itself. 
 
The future looks good.