As a rule, electric car concepts embrace the future. Even those with a retro flavor are clearly products of the 21st century. Don’t tell that to Infiniti, however — it’s going deep into the past. Nissan’s luxury badge has unveiled the Prototype 9, an EV whose design unabashedly recalls 1940s race cars (particularly those from Auto Union). And it’s not just the long nose, spoked wheels and massive front grille that pay homage — the prototype was even built using traditional techniques. Inside, of course, it’s very much the product of 2017 know-how.
The machine includes a 140HP equivalent motor that’s powerful enough to get the vehicle to 62MPH in 5.5 seconds with a top speed of 105.6MPH. It’s not the fastest EV by any means, but it does beat a standard Tesla Model 3 to the 62MPH mark despite its vintage chassis. There is one major drawback (besides the car’s single-seater nature), though: range. The Prototype 9 only lasts for 20 minutes under “heavy track use,” and we wouldn’t expect it to drive much further at roadway speeds… not that you’d take it off the track.
Is this a hint of Infiniti (or Nissan) EVs to come? Not really. This is ultimately a demonstration of the company’s design chops for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. However, it does show that electric cars don’t have to hew to cutting-edge (or even semi-recent) bodies to be eye-catching. Don’t be surprised if elements of the Prototype 9 find their way into more straight-laced EVs, whether it’s the internal layout or visual cues.