Infiniti is ready to storm into Paris next month revealing its progress toward the electrification of its portfolio by 2021 with the new Project Black S prototype.
The prototype, which started as a design study in 2017, features Formula One dual-hybrid electric power train technology adapted for use in an everyday driver. It also showcases the advantages of being part of a large conglomerate as experts from across the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance all played a role in its development.
“The Project Black S represents the very top end of electrification in the Alliance portfolio, and is another example of Infiniti’s entrepreneurial spirit on its journey to electrification from 2021 onward,” said Roland Krueger, chairman and global president at Infiniti, in a statement.
“Project Black S utilizes high power and smart energy management from advanced powertrains, a thrilling dynamic capability on road and track, and a performance-oriented aesthetic. A collaborative venture between Infiniti and the Renault Sport Formula One Team, the Project Black S prototype is a testbed for new ideas and technologies, demonstrating how our Alliance partnerships could make our ambitious visions a reality.”
(Infiniti goes back to the future with Prototype 10. Click Here for the story.)
The Project Black S prototype pairs high-performance dual-hybrid technology with Infiniti’s VR30 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine. The new powertrain features a unique energy recovery system that ups the power and torque levels on the resulting power plant.
The dual-hybrid powertrain prototype generates 420 kW, which is equivalent to 563 horsepower. The conventional VR30 engine the new hybrid is based on produces 298 kW, or 400 hp. The power-to-weight ratio is estimated to be 235W/kg, achieving 0-100 km/0-62 acceleration under four seconds.
The Black S designation represents the highest level of performance, dynamic capability, effective aerodynamics and intelligent energy management offered by the brand, officials say.
The prototype is based on the Q60 Red Sport 400 sports coupe and has been developed together with the Renault Sport Formula One Team.
In fact, it’s the Formula One team that basically produced the prototype’s powertrain. It uses three motor generator units (MGU). A single MGU-K — the K stands for kinetic — unit harvests kinetic energy from braking.
(Click Here for details about our first drive in the Q60 Red Sport 400.)
Uniquely, the engine’s twin electric turbochargers are fitted with two MGU-H (‘H’ for ‘heat’) units, to harvest heat energy from exhaust gases. This enables the powertrain to generate electrical power under both braking and acceleration.
The prototype is the first step toward electrification by Infiniti since it scuttled plans to offer a jazzed up Infiniti version of the Nissan Leaf. Likely to die a miserable death, much like Cadillac’s iteration of the Chevy Volt, a rethink was in order.
While Infiniti officials haven’t yet offered much detail about where its electrification strategy beyond a target date, the Project Black S prototype is another example of the direction it is taking.
At the very least, its offerings will offer much better acceleration than the latest Leaf, and even better range. At the Pebble Beach Concours, Infiniti revealed its Prototype 10. A modern take on an open-air speedster from another generation of racers, Krueger described it as the “shift” the brand is taking toward electrification.
(To see more about Infiniti’s “electrified” concepts, Click Here.)
That’s certainly the approach high-line competitors ranging from Audi to Porsche to Volvo plan to take. As for the Prototype 10, Infiniti notes in a news release that it is “purely a design study,” though it then adds “at this stage.” Infiniti isn’t offering any advanced thoughts on what will arrive in 2021, but the Paris Motor Show may provide the perfect stage for such an announcement.