It’s almost the end of August, and that means it’s time for Monterey Car Week. Ars won’t be there on the ground this year—why yes, I have a bad case of FOMO—but that won’t stop us from bringing you some of the cooler news as it happens. Multimillion-dollar classics, obscure-but-not-forgotten supercars, and legendary race cars make their way to the peninsula to bask in each other’s reflected glory.
First out of the gates is Infiniti. Last year, it gave us Prototype 9, which imagined a 1940s-style barn find, but electric. This year, Infiniti has brought us Prototype 10. This concept also takes cues from the past, this time the sleek little speedsters of the 1950s.
“For us, Prototype 9 evoked the thrill and drama of early open-wheeled racing, and Prototype 10 represents another passion project for our designers,” said Infiniti’s executive design director, Karim Habib, in a press release. “This idea of ‘looking back to go forward’ and combining the inspiration of an earlier aesthetic with future technology lets us show how excited we are about the era of electrification. Prototype 10 draws on some of the most iconic and evocative car designs of all time to illustrate this excitement.”
Infiniti says that the “unbroken, skyward-facing surfaces reflect the uninterrupted nature of electric motor power delivery,” and the geometric lines on the bodywork reference the “shock of sudden acceleration” that comes with electric propulsion. Whether or not that makes sense to you, the marque is clearly exploring new ideas as it gets ready for electrification.
“Electrification provides new opportunities for the design and layout of our cars. In accommodating batteries and electric motors or employing smaller gasoline engines, we aren’t bound by the same physical restrictions. 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,” Habib said.
As with a lot of other automakers, Infiniti is planning to move to an all-electrified lineup in the near future—every new model it introduces from 2021 will feature an electrified powertrain. And while some other OEMs are fudging this a bit by including 48v mild hybrids, it appears as if Infiniti really does mean all its new cars will either be battery electric vehicles, high-performance parallel hybrids, or performance-oriented series hybrids (e-POWER in corporate speak).