The days of the internal combustion engine are fast disappearing as automakers introduce more efficient and more environmentally sound options. Infiniti is looking forward to that electrified future with its new gas-powered EV powertrain.
Electric vehicles are still in the minority on U.S. roads, but they’re slowly catching on with consumers. Once something people had heard of but never seen, now there’s a good chance of seeing a few in traffic and maybe even knowing people who own one.
Say goodbye to range anxiety.
It’s a huge change in thinking to go from stopping at the gas pump to plugging-in a car at night, which has slowed acceptance of electric vehicles. Buying an EV also brings with it the fear of range anxiety.
Worrying about running down the battery in the middle of nowhere is what holds back many consumers from making the switch. Although charging stations are popping up everywhere from the local mall to office parks to airports, they’re still nowhere near as easy to come by as gas stations.
Despite EV ranges that are typically more than what most people drive in a day, the fear is real. Infiniti has a solution to bridge the gap between your good old internal combustion engine and a fully electric vehicle that helps ease range anxiety. That solution is the gas-generated EV.
How it works.
It sounds like an oxymoron, but take a closer look and it makes sense. The electric motors at each axle are powered by a battery pack housed beneath the cabin. Depending on the model, the capacity of these batteries varies from 3.5 to 5.1 kWh.
This provides the instant torque associated with fully electric vehicles combined with a power output of between 248 and 429 horsepower. Expect 0-62 mph times around 4.5 seconds in the most high-powered versions of these powertrains.
Performance is similar to a full EV, but where things differ is in how the battery is charged. While an EV needs to be plugged in to get its charge, a gas-powered EV gets its charge from a gasoline generator.
No plugging-in. Ever.
The battery pack in Infiniti’s gas-powered EVs are charged constantly by a 3-cylinder 1.5-liter gas generator. This is an all-new application of this engine, which uses variable compression ratio technology to deliver a continuous variable charge to the battery.
A gas-powered EV never needs to be plugged-in to charge. In fact, it’s not even an option because these cars don’t have charging ports. Instead, a quick stop at a gas station is all that’s required. The technology may be new, but how consumers use it couldn’t be more familiar.
What about emissions?
While a full EV has zero emissions, there are emissions with a gas-powered EV. The good news is those emissions are significantly less than what is typical with fully gas-powered vehicles. Compared to existing Infiniti offerings and those from other automakers with similar performance, emissions are reduced.
A gas-powered EV also works less at the low speeds typically encountered in city driving where emissions have a significant impact on air quality. While there’s a benefit to reduced emissions everywhere, a gas-powered EV used in the city could have an even bigger positive impact.
The sound of silence.
One of the first things noticed when driving an EV is the silence. Without an engine, all that noise is gone, which creates a unique driving experience. Infiniti aims to duplicate that sound of silence in its gas-powered EV lineup.
A world-first independent mounting system that puts the generator beneath the hood reduces noise and vibration to the point that they are unnoticeable. The engine and electric motors are encapsulated to reduce noise and motor whine and there are fluid-filled engine mounts to absorb vibrations.
Inside, the cabin features active noise cancellation to reduce low frequency sounds that could disturb passengers. The end result is a level of overall noise isolation and sound control that won’t let anything more than residual road and wind noise penetrate the cabin.
Bridging the gap to EV acceptance.
Infiniti plans to offer its future vehicles with two powertrains for every platform. Those who are ready for a full EV will have that option. Those who aren’t quite ready to let go of the security blanket that comes from being able to fuel up at a gas pump will have gas-powered EVs.
The path to electrification is one everyone needs to travel at their own pace. Infiniti plans to offer options that let everyone jump onto that path whenever they’re ready.