Infiniti says it will debut what it is calling a world-first technology, a dual-hybrid powertrain, in the Project Black S prototype it is bringing to the Paris auto show this week.
“The Project Black S represents the very top end of electrification in the (Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi) Alliance portfolio and is another example of Infiniti’s entrepreneurial spirit on its journey to electrification from 2021 onward,” Infiniti President Roland Krueger says in a statement. “Project Black S utilizes high power and smart energy management from advanced powertrains, a thrilling dynamic capability on road and track, and a performance-oriented aesthetic.”
The dual-hybrid powertrain and the entire vehicle (based on Infiniti’s Q60 coupe) are the result of an 18-month collaboration between the Nissan luxury brand and the Renault Sport Formula One Team.
Based on Infiniti’s VR30 twin-turbocharged V-6, winner of a 2018 Wards 10 Best Engines award, the dual-hybrid powertrain harvests kinetic energy under braking, as well as heat energy from the twin-turbo system.
Three motor-generators are used to generate electricity under braking and acceleration, one (MGU-K) harvesting braking kinetic energy and two more (both MGU-H) to gather heat from exhaust gases, Infiniti says in pre-show materials.
A high-rate discharge 4.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack in the rear of the car stores the energy harvested by the three motor-generators.
“As in a Formula One powertrain, the power recovered by the MGUs and stored in the battery pack is deployed in two ways,” Infiniti says. “Firstly, it acts as an electrically assisted anti-lag system, spooling up the turbine blades within both e-turbos more quickly and rapidly increasing the amount of air recirculated back into the engine to boost power. Secondly, energy stored in the battery can be used to power the MGU-K, feeding up to 120 kW of additional electric power directly into the drivetrain” via a new final drive assembly on the rear axle.
Infiniti promises “instantaneous” acceleration from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in less than four seconds from the powertrain rated at 563 hp, a whopping 163-hp increase over the standard VR30’s output.
The vehicle is the brand’s first with full by-wire controls, including a new brake-by-wire regenerative system with 380-mm and 360-mm carbon-ceramic drilled and ventilated brakes. The current high-performance grade of Infiniti’s Q60, the 400-hp Red Sport, uses 355-mm front and 350-mm rear ventilated iron disc brakes.
The brake-by-wire system delivers “a consistent, satisfying brake-pedal feel and high heat capacity, despite repeated heavy use,” Infiniti says.
To bring weight down and enhance aerodynamics, a carbon-fiber hood, roof and fenders are employed, as is a carbon-fiber-finished rear wing. The wing offers a compromise between “maximum straight-line stability and high traction under cornering.” Infiniti says.
The carbon-fiber elements are finished in black satin matte lacquer, while darkened chrome, lacquered black and yellow are exterior design flourishes.
Infiniti says the interior retains the Q60’s luxuriousness, but notes seats use carbon-fiber shells and a carbon-fiber panel replaces the rear bench seat and disguises the Li-ion pack.
Laser-etched black leather, trimmed in yellow that fades to black, also decorates the inside of the Project Black S and differentiates it from the Q60.
The luxury brand calls the Project Black S a possible “maximum” performance grade for Infiniti and says its digital and dynamometer validation will inform future Infiniti vehicle development and speed vehicle time to market. Track testing of the prototype is planned through 2019.