A lot of automakers are betting big on electric SUVs, and for obvious reasons – they basically print money. But Infiniti's first EV will be a performance sedan inspired by the lovely Vision Qe Vision concept that debuted during the Japan Mobility Show, and there's a big reason the company believes an electric sedan could be the secret to early success: "passion."
Speaking with Senior Director of Operations at Infiniti, Bob Welby, the company hopes to tap into the enthusiasm customers have had in the past for the automaker's crop of four-door and performance products.
"For the US market, the sedan segment is still a very relevant segment," says Welby. "We have a ton of history, and heritage, and hugely passionate fans… so with that kind of passion, we’re always getting asks for that kind of piece."
For a lot of people, that evokes memories of the G35 and G37 sedans of the 2000s and 2010s, which were some of Japan’s strongest challengers to the sport sedan establishment. Like the Nissan Zs they were closely related to, those sedans and their coupe siblings garnered rave reviews and gained huge followings in the tuner scene.
The current Infiniti lineup, though, has just one sedan in it: the gas Q50. And it’s available with up to 400 horsepower in Red Sport guise courtesy of a powerful twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine. Infiniti hasn’t gone so far as to discuss potential specs for the production Qe, but some of the most promising performance sedans are now fully electric, so there’s a strong chance its first EV offers even more thrills than the current Red Sport range.
Infiniti's signature design elements will also play a pretty significant role when this first EV goes into production. "Design has always been kind of a standout for us… you also see some strong elements in our history about the 'joy of driving,'" Welby notes. "So there are some cues there that I think you are certainly going to expect to show up in our DNA."
While the Vision Qe will be the initial focus for Infiniti, the company isn't shying away from electric SUVs. The Vision QXe concept – announced earlier this week – will be an all-electric SUV prototype slated for production.
"SUVs have become another emerging strength of ours over the past decade… and we teased that last night with the QXe concept as well," says Welby. "So that’s absolutely going to be part of our story."