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With all the prominence in the news about
the Nissan Leaf (pictured) these past few days, it’s worth remembering Nissan has other
ways of getting its money back on the electric-car project. There’s a luxury
version coming, under the Infiniti brand.

So much for the idea that tree-huggers all
wear hair shirts. The electric Infiniti will no doubt be all very Hollywood.

It will use the same
platform as the Leaf, but a different body. So it will be the smallest Infiniti.
But all Infinitis are supposed to have high performance as well as being
luxurious, so the motor power will be turned up compared with the Leaf’s.

Normally this would result in a shorter
range, but the Infiniti electric car won’t be launched until 2014 or so, when
Nissan is ready with its next generation of battery, which should hold enough
charge to cope with the increased power.

This electrification strategy, of starting
with a smallish hatch, is the opposite of what Audi is doing. Audi will start
with a punishingly expensive two-seat electric supercar, the e-Tron.

We asked the boss of
Infiniti why. “We’re not doing EVs [electric vehicles] for a limited number of
people. We want lots of buyers quickly, so we are making a family car. We have
no intention to make a niche EV. Besides, big vehicles are too heavy for
today’s batteries, which is why our car will be compact.”

Paul Horrell, Consultant Editor of Top Gear magazine

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