But the Leaf also will be getting company in the coming years. Le Vot also announced in Detroit that Nissan will have eight all-electric models in its global fleet by 2022. Alliance partners Renault and Mitsubishi are bringing out four more. The Japanese maker alone is forecasting it will see about 1 million BEVs annually by mid-decade.
While the Nissan brand will continue to market conventionally powered gas and diesel models for the foreseeable future, the Infiniti division is planning an even more aggressive transformation, said Christian Meunier, the recently named CEO of the Infiniti brand, which is based in Hong Kong.
Starting in 2021, all products will be electrified, he said in an interview. In the case of Infiniti, that will mean both battery-electric vehicles and what are known as serial plug-in hybrids. These have range-extending gas engines on board, but if they fire up they only serve as generators, sending power to the electric motors that actually drive the wheels.
"It will take about two to three years" to phase out conventional drivetrains, Meunier estimated.
Infiniti suffered an embarrassing moment at the auto show on Monday, when its QX Inspiration concept initially failed to roll out onto the stage, as planned, due to a problem with its electric drivetrain. Despite that setback, Meunier called the prototype "the embodiment of our future in the form a striking electric crossover."
The QX Inspiration is loaded with upscale features, including a marble center console and a Japanese redwood roof liner. But like the less exotically finished Nissan IMs, what really matters is the actual layout of the vehicle.