Infiniti Prototype 10 electric-hybrid concept charges into the future

By Paul Gover, August 24 2018
Infiniti Prototype 10 electric-hybrid concept charges into the future

Infiniti is plugging into an electric future and the newest proof is called Prototype 10.

It’s a range-extended hybrid that has just emerged as one of the early stars of Monterey Car Week, which has become the biggest auto event in the USA and the perfect launching pad for Nissan's upscale arm to launch what's as much a piece of fun as much as a signpost to the future.

Prototype 10 shows how an electrified powertrain could fit within a lean, lightweight and daring body, and this enabled us to rethink the fundamental layout of the car,” says Infiniti’s executive design director, Karim Habib.

The Prototype 10's wild single-seater body is shaped like a 21st century torpedo.

It is both futuristic and retro at the same time, with a similar style to the open-wheeled Prototype 9 which was unveiled by Infiniti a year ago.

“Electrification provides new opportunities for the design and layout of our cars. In accommodating batteries and electric motors, or employing smaller petrol engines, we aren’t bound by the same physical restrictions,” Habib explains.

Prototype 10 is, according to Habib, about “purpose and aggression” and that’s more than just the body shape.

The 'monoposto' or single seat cockpit is easily visible from outside and built around a prominent high-tech steering wheel mounted on carbon fibre posts. Otherwise there are only brake and accelerator pedals.

“We were drawn to the idea of outlaw racers adapting their own cars for grass-roots racing," Habib reflects.

"Cabriolets become roadsters and speedsters with the removal of the roof, or by fitting a smaller, swept-back windshield. Many owners even covered the passenger bay to create a monoposto competition car."

So the body design is fun and inspiring, but the real importance of the car is its e-POWER electric package.

Infiniti promises it points to cars which will run without having to stay close to a plug-in electric cable, eliminating the ‘range anxiety’ of most current electric cars while also delivering a “memorable and invigorating” driving experience.

The Prototype series is making a promise that Infiniti has yet to deliver in Australia, although things will change rapidly as - like Volvo - it drives towards an all-electric showroom line-up from 2021.

Some of those cars will be pure plug-in electric, others will be range-extended hybrids with batteries and a small petrol motor for onboard re-charging and eventually there will be fuel-cell electric cars that generate electricity from hydrogen.

“In the near future our cars will offer high performance, extended driving range and the intelligent management of energy,” says the president of Infiniti, Roland Krueger.

Paul Gover

As Motoring Editor for Executive Traveller, Paul Gover spends less time at his Gold Coast home than he does on the road (literally) test-driving the best of the four-wheel world.

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