After showing off its line of concept electrified vehicles for the past three years, and repeated comments from company leaders supporting the advancement of the technology, Infiniti has decided to hold off taking any EVs to production.
In an interview with WardsAuto, Vice President of Infiniti Americas Michael Bartsch said the company it was important to keep priorities in check.
“We need to get our basics in place first, we need to get core products in place first, then we can take the next step after that,” Bartsch said of Infiniti’s EV goals.
In 2012, Infiniti introduced an extended range electric sports car concept called the Emerg-e at the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach. Earlier in the year, the New York Auto Show had acted as Infiniti’s stage to debut the LE, a prototype luxury sedan capable of wireless charging (pictured at top of article).
But Bartsch said that for now, the launch of the new Q30 and Q60, and a redesign of Infiniti’s CUVs were the main focus for the company.
“When we have those segments addressed, then we will take a re-look at the EV program,” said Bartsch.
Even the Q50 Eau Rouge – a high-performance gasoline prototype that was flaunted on the infamous Spa racetrack in Belgium and promoted by world champion racer Sebastian Vettel – has been put on the shelf.
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These goals are a bid at odds with comments from Carlos Ghosn, the current president and CEO of Nissan. At the 2012 launch for the LE, Ghosn addressed the New York International Auto Show:
“In a future that holds an increasing consumption of natural resources, we will advance our sustainable mobility leadership and expand our EV market penetration with new electric vehicles such as the Infiniti LE Concept. No other luxury brand has the corporate EV experience, the advanced battery technology, or the sustainable product credibility to claim a leadership position in zero emission luxury. No one except Infiniti.”
Last month, Ghosn reiterated the same philosophy:
“We need to continue to develop the infrastructure for EVs and charging stations, and we will continue working on increasing the effectiveness of our EV technology including battery range,” said Ghosn in Detroit.
But Bartsch hints that the ultimate direction may not be in the production of EVs.
“When you have a look at what Tesla (is doing), even they’re starting to understand where the real business is,” said Bartsch in a WardsAuto interview last August. “The business is in the CO2 credits and the business is not in producing cars, I would hazard a guess. I’d say the business for them is going to be long term in producing batteries.”