INFINITI’s future models will offer drivers a choice of electrified powertrains as the brand embraces new technology to propel its vehicles. (Earlier post.) These include fully-electric systems, as well as a gasoline-generated EV system (known as e-POWER at Nissan, earlier post) in which a gasoline engine generates electrical power stored in a battery (series hybrid), which can then be delivered to all four wheels through a pair of high-output electric motors.
These powertrains will be matched with dedicated platforms and vehicle architectures, delivering high performance, range confidence and reduced environmental impact.
INFINITI says that the new gasoline-generated EV powertrain is central to its electrification strategy, and establishes a new propulsion blueprint for many of the brand’s future models.
Offering the driving attributes of a high-performance electric car, this new powertrain eliminates two of the perceived obstacles to EV uptake among consumers—range confidence and the practicalities of recharging.
Power is provided directly to two high-output electric motors—one on each axle—by a battery pack located beneath the floor of the cabin, varying in capacity from 3.5 to 5.1 kWh depending on model.
As an electric car powered by gasoline, the character of the power delivery is as addictive, smooth and serene as in a high-performance battery electric vehicle. With instantaneous, electrifying responses to accelerator inputs, the electric motors provide their maximum torque from 0 rpm. The powerful motors deliver a total power output of between 185 and 320 kW (248 hp to 429 hp), depending on the vehicle.
Acceleration, as in any electric vehicle, is linear, with higher-powered versions of the powertrain able to accelerate from 0-to-62mph in around 4.5 seconds. Furthermore, the driver and passengers won’t experience the same ‘shift shock’ often associated with changing gear in a conventional hybrid or ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle.
The battery pack is recharged constantly by INFINITI’s new ‘MR15DDT’ engine. This three-cylinder 1.5-liter gasoline generator—the first application of this engine—uses INFINITI's VC-Turbo innovative variable compression ratio technology (earlier post), delivering a continuously variable rate of charge to the battery.
Crucially, the use of a gasoline generator means these vehicles will never need to be plugged in for hours to recharge. Indeed, they won’t have a charging port at all. The powertrain requires only a short stop at a gas station to refill the fuel tank, removing concerns about range.
Despite the high level of performance on offer, emissions for vehicles featuring the new gas-generated EV powertrain will be significantly reduced compared to existing vehicles from the brand, and other ICE vehicles offering similar power and performance.
Importantly, the system breaks the historic link between city driving and higher emissions, with the MR15DDT generator having to work less at low speeds to power the battery pack. The result is lower emissions and improved driving range in urban environments, where emissions for ICE vehicles are generally higher.
INFINITI vehicles equipped with the gas-generated EV powertrain will feature a series of advanced and world-first technologies and features to create the quiet, refined ride associated with conventional electric vehicles.
One of the most striking innovations is a world-first independent mounting system for the MR15DDT generator system beneath the hood, ensuring that engine noise and vibrations are virtually unnoticeable at any driving speed. To maintain calm and serenity in the cabin, the engine and electric motors are fully encapsulated to reduce audible engine noise and motor whine. The engine’s independent mount system features fluid-filled mounts, designed to absorb any further vibrations that it may otherwise send through the body.
The MR15DDT VC-Turbo engine itself is uncommonly smooth, with significantly reduced noise and vibration levels compared to conventional in-line engines. This is a result of its multi-link design, where the piston connecting rods are almost vertical during the combustion cycle, rather than moving wider laterally as they would in a traditional crankshaft rotation. This represents the ideal reciprocating motion, and entirely negates the need for balance shafts found in other in-line engines.
Inside the cabin itself, INFINITI’s gas-generated EVs are expected to offer Active Noise Cancellation, which will further counter any low frequency noises from the engine and road by producing opposing sound waves. This neutralizes unwanted noises in the cabin, and ensures a quieter, more peaceful ride.
These engine isolation and active sound control measures mean the system will never be more audible than any residual wind and road noise generated through driving. Combined with quiet tires, carefully tuned suspension systems, acoustic glass, and other passive soundproofing measures, vehicles equipped with the new gas-generated EV powertrain will offer a supremely serene ride, whatever the conditions.
For three decades INFINITI has built a reputation for introducing powertrains that excite and empower drivers. Our new gas-generated EV powertrain represents the next step into our electrified future, acting as a bridge to full electrification and setting the tone for our upcoming zero and ultra-low emission cars. However they are powered, our cars will offer thrilling yet serene electric performance, and e-AWD systems which inspire driver confidence.—Eric Rigaux, General Manager, Product Strategy & Planning for INFINITI Motor Company
The fully-electric and gas-generated EV powertrain options will be matched with dedicated platforms and vehicle architectures under INFINITI’s new ‘two powertrains, one platform’ approach to model development. This will see the creation of platforms which can accommodate both types of powertrain, with a high level of commonality between each.
Delivering battery power to a high-performance e-AWD (electric all-wheel drive) system, the platforms of all INFINITI’s future electrified cars will be engineered to accommodate a pair of high-output electric motors – one on the front axle, one on the rear. For electric vehicles, the space between the two axles will house a high-capacity battery pack, while the gas-generated EV models will feature a significantly smaller battery pack, accompanied by a fuel tank and exhaust system connected to the front-mounted VC-Turbo gasoline generator. For all models, drive will be provided solely by electric motors.