It would appear Infiniti is quietly putting plans for its LE Concept on hold.
The luxury brand offered no update on plans for the electric car, with the exception of one comment from the vice president of Infiniti America, Michael Bartsch.
“We have to be a little pragmatic,” Bartsch told media at an event for the Q60 Concept. USA Today reported Infiniti wants to focus on segments that have potential for higher volume such as the the new Q60 Coupe.
Analysts speculate that Infiniti may be postponing the LE until the next generation of Nissan Leaf is ready. Although Nissan has not made it official, the new Leaf may be released in 2017 with a new lithium-ion battery that extends the car’s range from the current 84 miles to more than 200.
The LE Concept debuted at the New York Auto show in 2012 as an all-electric luxury sedan based on the Nissan Leaf. That same year, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said he was enthusiastic about an electrically-powered Infiniti.
“Our objective is 10-percent market share of the premium market,” said Ghosn. “We cannot make Infiniti out of a bunch of cars [each] selling a little bit of units. You can’t do that. Every strong brand has to have one or two strong cars selling very well, competing very well in their segment. This is the first and most important thing to do.”
Ghosn was also confident that more zero-emission cars would be coming:
“This is totally normal, that we have at least one Infiniti car. It’s [the LE] obviously a flagship car, but it’s also a car that will be developed and produced to sell.”
Infiniti originally planned to offer the LE in 2014. Though the release was extended to 2015, it appeared that Infiniti was still steadily progressing towards production. Last August, an LE model approximately 85-percent production-ready was on display at Pebble Beach. At the same time, Infiniti also announced that the LE would have wireless charging capabilities.
Infiniti has not clarified whether the LE will be cancelled or just postponed, and still displays the model in its list of future vehicles. For 2015, the company’s hybrid lineup will include Q50 Hybrid and Q70 Hybrid, both luxury sedans, and the luxury crossover, QX60 Hybrid.