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Infiniti reveal ‘Prototype 9’ at Pebble Beach

This week Nissan and their premium brand INFINITI  unveiled a handsome, open-wheeled electric retro-roadster prototype at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

The car, called Prototype 9, which has a cool retro 1940s race car shape but is powered by a prototype electric motor and battery from Nissan’s Advanced Powertrain Department. This nod to the future contrasts with the traditional materials and techniques applied for the Prototype 9’s manufacture, including panels hand-beaten by a team of Takumi – Nissan Motor Corporation’s master craftspeople.

The vehicle’s stunning bodywork is made from steel body panels wrapped around a steel ladder frame. The panels were hammered into shape by the Takumi. For Prototype 9, panel beaters incorporated INFINITI’s signature design elements, such as the double-arch grille, ‘shark gills’ aft of the front wheels, a single-crease hood, and sharp lines that stretch from front to rear.

Defined by its smooth, aerodynamic surfaces, long bonnet and short overhangs, Prototype 9 features an exposed cockpit, and open-wheeled layout. 19-inch centre-locking wire-spoke wheels at each corner are even wrapped in period cross-ply competition tyres.

Inside, the cockpit is wrapped in black leather with contrast red stitching, sewn and finished in such a way as to echo earlier single-seater racers. The dashboard features no distractions from the road ahead, the steering wheel rotates around a fixed central hub, housing the driver’s instrument gauges. The hub itself finished in turned aluminium, an effect found on aircraft throughout the first half of the 20th century.

Under the bonnet,  Prototype 9 features a new EV powertrain – a 30 kWh high-voltage battery paired with a prototype electric motor, one not yet seen on a production vehicle.

The motor produces 120 kW (148 hp) and 320 Nm (236 lb ft) of torque and driving the rear wheels, via single-speed transmission. Prototype 9 has a top speed of 170 kph (105.6 mph), and sprints from 0-to-100 kph (0-to-62 mph) in 5.5 seconds, with a maximum EV range of 20 minutes under heavy track use.

Auto Addicts Ed:  A giant step in the right direction for design and engineering in our view – A handsome beast, but it still needs to lose some weight and last a bit longer than 1 track day session.   But massive thumbs up, can we have a go when it comes to the UK?


Technical specifications

Body and chassis
Layout Single-seater race car with steel ladder frame and handmade steel body panels
Layout Lithium-ion battery with electric motor
Battery type Lithium-ion
Max power (motor) 120 kW (148 hp)
Max torque 320 Nm (236 lb ft)
Transmission Single-speed
Drivetrain Rear-wheel drive
Suspension and steering
Front Leading-arm rigid axle with transverse leaf spring
Rear De Dion axle with transverse leaf spring
Steering Non-power assisted
Dampers Hydraulic rotary type
Wheels, tires and brakes
Wheels Front Centre-locking wire spokes, 19-inch
Rear Centre-locking wire spokes, 19-inch
Tyres Front 450-19
Rear 650-19
Brakes Front 252 mm ventilated discs without booster
Rear 252 mm solid discs without booster
Dimensions, mm (inches)
Length 4,330 (170.5)
Width 1,820 (71.7)
Height 910 (35.8)
Ground clearance 65 (2.5)
Wheelbase 2700 (106.3)
Track Front 1,550 (61.0)
 Rear  1,570 (61.8)
Weight, kg (lbs)
Vehicle weight 890 (1,962)
Weight distribution, fr/rr 43 / 57
Top speed, kph (mph) 170 (105.6)
Acceleration, 0-100 kph 5.5 secs

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