So, what is Infiniti's next big plan?
The 2022 Infiniti QX60 just arrived, sporting a rather conventional powertrain. There's no electric version, no hybrid, not even a turbocharger (unless you live in China), just a 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V6 developing 295 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. Though the QX60 seems competitive with other midsize luxury SUVs like the Acura MDX and Lexus RX, we wouldn't call it future-proof. Infiniti has been slow to embrace electric vehicles, but dating back to 2019, the Japanese luxury brand has hinted at upcoming range-extender models that would not require a plug. Sadly, these models may never see production.
According to Automotive News, Infiniti has abandoned plans to bring its range-extended EV models to the United States. "We took into account market trends, the regulatory environment, and most importantly, customer preferences," said Infiniti spokesman Kyle Bazemore. "We will prioritize fully electric vehicles as our initial electrified offering in the Americas, along with advanced internal combustion-powered vehicles."
Nissan already sells range-extended EV models in other markets under the name e-Power, and Infiniti was rumored to bring this technology stateside under the name I-Power. The system is currently available in the Kicks, Note, and Qashqai, using a 1.2-liter gasoline engine to charge a battery that drives the wheels. Infiniti dealers were told the technology wouldn't be competitive in the US market. "They couldn't bring it in at the right cost," Infiniti National Dealer Advisory Board Chairman Ed Lennon Jr. explained. "I don't think it helped them with their CAFE rating."
The e-Power system sounds like an excellent solution for today's lackluster EV charging infrastructure. Rather than stop to charge for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, e-Power only requires a short fuel stop, just like a conventional ICE vehicle. This technology could help ease the transition to full EVs for customers wary of charge times and range anxiety.
Sadly, Infiniti customers will likely have to wait even longer for a fully electric model. One Infiniti dealer in Canada was so desperate to sell an EV, it even resorted to delivering a Tesla Model 3 to a loyal customer. Infiniti's first EV is still years off, likely based on the Qs Inspiration sports sedan concept shown in 2019. Nissan may still bring its e-Power system to the US in the next-generation Kicks and Rogue, and Infiniti will likely offer this drivetrain in markets outside the US, such as China. Based on this latest news, though, it seems like we may never get this system in the US.