Saturday, June 30, 2012

Infiniti EMERG-E Debuts at Goodwood

Published June 30, 2012

By Huw Evans

To prove that Infiniti’s extended range EMERG-E supercar is far more than just a styling exercise, the brand unveiled “fully functional” versions at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend.

The demonstrator cars, have already taken part in the famous hillclimb, while as this is written, Formula 1 pilot Mark Webber is getting ready for a stint in the EMERG-E on Sunday.

According to Jerry Hardcastle, who is vice president of Vehicle Design and Development for the Nissan Group Technology Centre Europe, as well as Chairman of the UK’s Automotive Council, the demonstrators remain true to the original concept car shown at Geneva, utilizing twin electric motors that generate 402 horsepower, enabling 0-60 mph acceleration of four seconds and 0-130 mph in 30 seconds.

Utilizing a modified Lotus Evora chassis, the demonstrators also incorporate a Lotus developed 1.2-liter gasoline generator that produces 47 horsepower at just 3,500 rpm. Zero emissions range is pegged at 30 miles at which point the gasoline generator kicks in. Even after 300 miles Infiniti says the EMERG-E demonstrators deliver an emissions output of just 55 grams per kilometer.

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However, in order to make the EMERG-E viable as a running, driving vehicle some changes still had to be implemented. One of the most notable is the addition of front and rear spoilers.

“We added the spoiler onto the cars because we needed to balance the front and rear lift of the car,” said Hardcastle. “The spoiler was therefore specifically designed to be purely functional as opposed to being added just for design purposes."

Besides showcasing Infiniti’s potential future at Goodwood, the EMERG-E demonstrators have also been enrolled in a yearlong test program that aims to explore developments in sustainability and also what Infiniti dubs as “responsible performance.”

“In EMERG-E, we're trying to study and investigate and showcase two things: one is the potential of a mid-engine sportscar for the Infiniti range, and the second is of a new range-extended powertrain," said Hardcastle. "On the one hand we had an opportunity to make a mid-engine Infiniti sportscar, which would differentiate it from anything in the Nissan range and anything else in the Infiniti range. The mid-engine concept could have any powertrain, so we made a bold decision. Nissan and Infiniti already have a lot of technology for normally aspirated engines, turbocharged engines, diesel engines, electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles. We hadn't really studied in great depth the potential of a range-extended electric vehicle though, and so that gave rise to the second opportunity to study a new powertrain as well. So in EMERG-E, we've brought the two things together."

Helping the foster the idea of EMERG-E as a viable automotive concept, the Automotive Council Technology Group has developed a roadmap, which lays out goals for automotive environmental sustainability, including reduced CO2 emissions and reduced vehicle weight.

"If you make a lightweight car, whatever powertrain you use, it will have lower CO2," said Hardcastle.

As a result, using a Lotus based chassis was seen as a logical step for the EMERG-E demonstrators, which utilizing an aluminum chassis tub and carbon fiber bodywork; have a relatively bantam curb weight of 3522 pounds.


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