To celebrate 20 years as a brand Infiniti has produced a stunning concept car for the 2009 International Motor Show in Geneva. The Infiniti Essence is the world's most powerful Hybrid car with a total of 600 horsepower combined output from its V6 twin turbo and electric motor. The luxury sports car hybrid offers enormous power on the open road and zero emission driving in urban settings.
In specification the car looks very much like a hybrid version of Nissan's GT-R. (Infiniti is a Nissan owned brand) With a 3.7 liter V6 DOHC Twin Turbo VQ based engine (VQ37DETT) putting out 434 hp (320 Kw) in a rear wheel drive FM (Front Midship) platform currently used in modified form in both the Nissan GT-R, 350Z and Infiniti V36. An additional 158 hp (116 Kw) and 500 Nm comes from the twin clutch mounted Disc type electric motor giving a total of 592 hp (435 Kw). No combined torque figure was released by Infiniti but it should be in the region of 1088 Nm (802 Ft/lb).
Strictly a two seater, the front-engined rear wheel drive super-luxury coupe is Infiniti's first super-performance car with design cues that Infiniti says will distinguish its production cars of the coming years. The Essence is a real styling exercise featuring razor sharp lines, side windows that appear to be resting on a ledge and a steeply raked windscreen that combines as a sun roof and extends all the way to the B pillar while the car rides on 22-inch wheels. The Essence also comes complete with Bespoke Louis Vuitton luggage.
The petrol engine and electric engine can work independently or together as a "parallel" hybrid system. At urban speeds the Essence operates as a pure battery electric vehicle. A lower trunk mounted laminated lithium ion battery supplies power to a new type of electric motor called the 3D Motor. The motor is a BLDC design that maximizes torque density to meet tough requirements on size and power output. The result is a particularly slim, disk-shaped motor that has twice the torque of a conventional unit. Its design was achieved by 3D magnetic field analysis to optimize the layout of the electromagnetic coils and permanent magnets. The motor is positioned between the engine and transmission and provides 158bhp (116 Kw). The 3D Motor operates in both propulsion and power regeneration modes to recapture braking energy to keep the battery pack charged up.
600 hp + 30 MPG
Optimized energy usage across the widest possible range of driving conditions is guaranteed by two separate clutches which "switch in" the motors as required. It is a system that needs no torque converter and the result is a 600 hp sports car with combined fuel economy of 8 liters / 100 km (30 US MPG).
The Essence also previews some next-generation collision avoidance safety features. Distance Control Assist (DCA) and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) systems are available in today's production Infinitis but the Essence adds Side Collision Prevention (SCP) and Back-up Collision Prevention (BCP) to extend the anti-collision shield all the way around the car.
With SCP, when the driver decides to change lanes, side-mounted sensors activate a warning if an approaching vehicle is detected in the driver's intended lane. A yaw mechanism is then activated through brake control of individual wheels to help prevent a potential collision. Back-up Collision Prevention works in a similar way, sensing a vehicle behind, giving the driver a warning but then, if the warning is not heeded, activating the brakes automatically.