Tesla fighting LE concept?

Tesla fighting LE concept?

For those who wonder what options we might have if the Model S turns out to be less than what we hope, Wired Autopia blog highlights a near production ready concept luxury EV from Infiniti based on the Leaf. Perhaps I am too much of a Tesla fan; but, with a 24 kWh battery, bizarre exterior styling, and two year wait, I am not tempted to drop my reservation. What do you think? Should Tesla be nervous as the Autopia blog suggests?

breading | 5 avril 2012

I tried to include a link to the blog post but it didn't work. Here is the URL:

JohhnyS | 5 avril 2012

Since it will be heavier than the Nissan Leaf and have the same battery capacity, the range will be very limited. I wonder if this is serious?

Larry Chanin | 5 avril 2012

What no cupholders and door pocket storage? ;-)

The exterior is better than a Leaf, but that's not saying much.

The performance won't come anywhere near the bigger Model S. The only thing to worry about is pricing, but really these two cars are simply not in the same class.


BryanW | 5 avril 2012

"If Tesla isn’t nervous yet, they will be when the production version of the LE goes on sale in two years’ time."

So, in 2 years, this Infinity EV will go 1/3 the distance of a Model S, have a "digital display powered by an Intel Atom processor," have internet access, and look like a 2012 Hyundai Elantra...

I thought you're supposed to skate to where the puck is going to be, not wait two years to skate to where the puck was last year...

Maestrokneer | 5 avril 2012

That car is awful. They have a pretty broad definition of "competition" at Wired.

jbunn | 5 avril 2012

Tesla should allways remain worried. Not for this car, or the leaf, but because worry is the normal state for the non-eaten.

BYT | 6 avril 2012

Elon and Tesla Motors should always have a healthy set worry an concern but for now, they only have themselves to beat. 2 years out for a car that is marginally better then the leaf? PLEASE! I was only impressed with "the integration of a wireless charging system that incorporates an inductive coil system that can be installed in the owner’s garage" but that was about it.

@Larry Chanin, good call on the lack of "cup-holders and door pocket storage" as that gave me a chuckle! ;)

Mark K | 6 avril 2012

Nissan is not incapable of misdirection to disarm their foes.

I would not trust the published specs. It is not rational to expect it to have the same battery and motor 3 years after the leaf.

Carlos is a serious competitor, and will clearly go after multiple segments.

The leaf indeed has a face only a mother could love, but it shipped a year earlier at an effective price that was less than a Prius. The segment is different from a Model S, but it's real.

The concept car is not exactly a seductress either, but they may surprise with more refined shapes.

Nissan cannot, on the other hand, expect TM to stand still to get shot at either.

A formidable competitor will sharpen TM's skills. One the many virtues of a free market that rewards excellence.

Cattledog | 6 avril 2012

What's in many ways most amazing is the article title - that a major international automaker, and only one at that, is scrapping to take down an upstart that hasn't even delivered a single sedan yet! I know it's a bit sensationalist journalism, but still remarkable. Goliath gunning for David - film at 11!

William13 | 6 avril 2012

I think Mark is right. I think that Nissan may be sending disinformation.

Brian H | 6 avril 2012

Montes laborent, et musces parturent.

I think that's the Latin I learned in HS for "The mountains have labored, and brought forth a mouse."

The threat this poses is Infini-Teslamal.


stephen.pace | 6 avril 2012

+1 Brian H. Darn, I wish I had thought of that when I posted my massive comment response. :-)

TikiMan | 6 avril 2012

Nissan-Infiniti makes great ICE vehicles! With that said, a 100 MPC luxury EV is very unrealistic in the real world. It’s about like buying a Bentley golf-cart.

Right now the biggest selling factor for any EV vehicle has more to do with saving money, and saying FU the terrorist, over saving the planet from CO2 emissions (sorry environmentalist).
Unless Nissan can figure out how to fit an 85+ kWh battery in this concept, it won’t do any better than the Leaf (likely worse). Right now everyone I know who owns a Nissan Leaf, also owns a nice ICE vehicle, and only uses the Leaf for short commutes, because that is all it’s good for.

In the REAL WORLD, few people can afford to buy one vehicle for short trips, and one for long trips, most of us need ONE that can do IT ALL!

Otherwise, it’s a nice looking concept… I love the way the interior looks, with the LCD blue glow at night, and the seats look very comfortable.

For the record… I currently own a new 2011 Infiniti G37 hard-top convertible, and a 2003 Nissan Murano (with over 110 thousand miles on it), and recently traded in a 2009 Infiniti FX50s (lease). All of them are by-far the most reliable, high-tech, and comfortable vehicles I have ever owned. On the other hand, their gas mileage all stink.

Jason S | 6 avril 2012

Why does the instrument cluster have large temperature and FUEL gauges?

TikiMan | 6 avril 2012


Because with a short 100 MPC battery, you will need to pay VERY close attention to how many feet you have left, before you stop dead on the freeway, because you forgot you stopped at Aunt Milly’s house on the way to work.

As far as the temp gauge goes... well, there have been some serious issues with other company EV's batteries melting down. So, I guess that would be important as well :-)

Supergreekster | 6 avril 2012

This is basically luxury leaf, but by then battery may increase in size, but not much. 125mi range? But agree toyota and Carlos is MAJOR STRATEGIC COMPETITOR. He is very agressive...

The Froq | 6 avril 2012

If this is competition for Tesla, live is cone be boring for Elon!

BYT | 6 avril 2012

@Froq, Elon is probably thinking, "this is what they have to offer 2 years from now? I think I'll keep working on my SpaceX rocket to Mars while the industry pulls it's head out of it's privileged arse!"

brianman | 6 avril 2012

@StephenPace - Kudos on your comment on the post.

Tom A | 6 avril 2012

I saw an article on autobloggreen the other day that reported the Infiniti EV.

I agree with Mark_K in view of BrianW. It just doesn't make sense for Nissan, under the direction of a guy like Ghosn, to make a more stylish, luxury sedan version of the Leaf, with no measurable improvement in EV specs...3-4 model years later?

I sincerely doubt that the actual vehicle will match that description. If it does, then Nissan may take the Crown of Myopia normally reserved for Detroit.

+1 each to all the humor!

Discoducky | 6 avril 2012

looks like a bad Sonata copy and 0-60 of about 11 seconds.

Mark E | 6 avril 2012

That must be one of the ugliest pieces of junk I have seen in ages. I'd be embarrassed to receive a lift in it even if I had no other option. I would not be seen in the drivers seat unless it was at gunpoint or there was a huge sign saying that I was driving it under duress.

Tiebreaker | 8 avril 2012

This thing wins the fugly contest.

Power, battery capacity and range are puny. If it is cheaper that Model S, it should be much much MUCH cheaper. If Nissan ups the capacities and power for the production model, the price difference will evaporate...

The title of the article is a proof that Tesla became the de-facto standard for EVs, against which everybody else compares.

But HEY, it has a center console!!!

Brian H | 9 avril 2012

No choice; I think there's a strip of battery modules running down the centerline. /;)

olanmills | 9 avril 2012

I think one of the most important things Tesla did was design an aesthetically beautiful, but "normal" looking car. That is, they didn't add a whole bunch of wierd flourishes to try to scream, "Hey this car is from the future! It's electric! It's green!" etc etc

The Leaf is super ugly. This Infiniti concept isn't so terrible. I can see how some people would think it looks cool, but I think it has too much going on on the exterior. If they wanted to call out the car as something special, they should have maybe stuck with one stand out feature. For instance, maybe the design is mostly subtle, but keep those unique wheels.

However, this car is just a concept. Look how much the Chevy Volt changed from initial concept to production.

As others have mentioned, the biggest threat to Tesla is that an established manufacturer produces an EV that is at least as good as the Model S, but this car, at least based on the facts in the article, is not it.

However, I do want to mention that a competitor being two years away in and of itself does not necessarily garuantee a "victory" for Tesla. After all, two years from now, assuming Tesla is successful with the S and X, mainstream folks will just then start to consider Tesla established and trustworthy enough to put it on their shopping lists. Suppose companies such as BMW, Toyota, Ford, GM, etc have EV's that can compete with Teslas in every way in 2014. I don't think Tesla being an early front runner will count for much of anything when it comes to the mass market if competitors are actually able to catch up. I mean to most people Tesla will just be another brand, if that.

Brian H | 9 avril 2012

You're still thinking in zero-sum mode. Tesla wants to compete with ICE cars, directly. So it's not a matter of who's got the best/hottest EV-of-the-moment. The whole market is the target buying pool.

Brian H | 9 avril 2012

You're still thinking in zero-sum mode. Tesla wants to compete with ICE cars, directly. So it's not a matter of who's got the best/hottest EV-of-the-moment. The whole market is the target buying pool.

olanmills | 11 avril 2012

I understand that's Tesla's target, and I think it's reasonable. No, I'm not thinking only one EV will win. I'm thinking, Tesla is a brand new company, and they're going to die if they can't sell cars. I think Elon has even said that the Model S is a make-or-break product for Tesla. I fully believe that some time in the future, multiple car manufacturers will have viable EVs, and they'll be room for all of them.

For Tesla however, it's not just about selling an EV. They need to establish themselves. I think that if there was a car that can compete with the Model S, that the only appreciable difference is the brand/styling, that that would be a threat to Tesla establishing a trusted brand. If Tesla is able to stay ahead of the pack for a while, and people recognize them as leaders and know the Tesla brand, then competition in and of itself is not terrible threat. But say BMW makes their own Model S and it's ready this winder and it's just as good and is the same price, then I think that would be a huge threat. Most people would go with the established brand I think.

I'm not saying the "best" EV is going to take the market and all other EV's will lose. I'm saying that Tesla specifically, is not on solid ground yet. Put it another way, a major car manufacturer such as BMW competiting with Tesla is a bigger threat to Tesla than Tesla is to any other car manufacturer (right now).

Volker.Berlin | 12 avril 2012

"If you’re waiting for a major automaker to fire the first shot across Tesla’s bow, the Infiniti LE Concept is it. Largely based on the bits that make up the Nissan LEAF, the LE is set to be the first mass-market luxury EV when it goes on sale in 2014. That sound you hear is Elon Musk nervously drumming his fingers on his desk."

Excuse me?! I call BS.

That sound you hear is Elon Musk nervously drumming his fingers on his desk, impatiently waiting for "the industry" to wake up! It is Elon's stated goal to wake up the industry and create a market for alternative propulsion vehicles. A real market. If that is it, then he failed miserably.

I'm glad competition is slowly, finally, moving at all. That can only be good. But we need a lot more!

Mike_ModelS_P457 | 12 avril 2012

One of the basic prinicples of capitalism is competition. Competition drives innovation, and innovation is what Tesla is all about. So far, as they are unfettered by self perceptions of a rigid design legacy they are able to just go with it. It is exciting!

The large enterprise auto manufacturers will catch up, but that doesn't mean they win. It means they are smart enough to see an opportunity and will take it. Hybrids took a decade to be accepted. EVs will need at least that long. While this all goes forward Tesla gets to claim first in status (wel... Sort of) and they get to establish a reputation as the company the changed it all.

Brian H | 12 avril 2012

It's telling that even with the bigs' concept cars, when you run the numbers (range, speed, price) vs TM, TM comes out on top every time -- and with in-production (nearly) hardware, not vapourware.

If anything, I'd expect TM to increase its techno-lead for the next few years.

Brian H | 12 avril 2012

It's telling that even with the bigs' concept cars, when you run the numbers (range, speed, price) vs TM, TM comes out on top every time -- and with in-production (nearly) hardware, not vapourware.

If anything, I'd expect TM to increase its techno-lead for the next few years.

Brian H | 12 avril 2012

Dupe post, false ERROR message page made me do it! Honest! \8-(