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The Infiniti Project Black S prototype made its debut at the 2018 Paris Motor Show this Monday, showcasing the future of hybrid technology. The result of a collaboration between Infiniti and the Renault Sport Formula One Team, it showcases the world’s first dual-hybrid powertrain. Based on the Infiniti Q60 sports coupe, the Project Black S prototype is the evolution of a design first shown last year in Geneva. Since that unveiling, the team has reduced overall weight, created a new interior, and added aerodynamic enhancements. What makes the Project Black S special is that it collects energy under both braking and acceleration. This new technology gives Infiniti the potential for a whole new model grade above the existing Red Sport 400, which is already available on select models.
Infiniti is committed to electrified powertrains on all new models starting in 2021. This prototype is a step in that direction, combining the performance prowess of the Red Sport 400 with the efficiency of an advanced electrified powertrain. That powertrain includes a 3.0-liter twin-turbo dual-hybrid V6 engine with 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque paired to a 7-speed automatic transmission with rear-wheel drive. There are also two separate energy harvesting systems. Kinetic energy during braking is gathered through a 120-kW motor, while heat energy from acceleration is collected through two 30-kW motors. This gives the Infiniti Project Black S prototype a combined 563 horsepower with a targeted 0-60 mph time of under 4 seconds. To create additional space for the 4.4 kWh battery pack, energy inverter, and hybrid electronic control unit, engineers removed the Q60’s rear seats. They also replaced the front and rear brakes with a new brake-by-wire system to better collect kinetic energy.
The powertrain changes not only changed the interior layout, they added about 440 pounds of extra weight making weight-saving an issue. The solution was to remove the steel hood, trunk, fenders, and roof and replace them with carbon fiber panels. The powered glass moonroof was also removed. Even the wheels were changed with the 20-inch aluminum alloys on the Q60 Red Sport 400 replaced by 21-inch forged aluminum. Stopping those wheels are ventilated carbon-ceramic brakes to further reduce weight. Inside, in addition to the removal of the rear seats, the front seats were redesigned. They’re slimmer and feature carbon fiber shells all in the interest of reducing weight and created a performance-focused experience. All these changes and the packaging of the dual-hybrid system have the bonus of giving the Project Black S a nearly perfect 50/50 weight distribution. The driver can choose between three drive modes that alter how the car collects and uses energy. Road mode is made for typical driving conditions, while Quali mode provides greater power for acceleration. Finally, Race mode is designed to maximize on-track performance like the Renault Formula One Team does in a race. The Infiniti Project Black S is a prototype today, but the technology and design it showcases will find its way into production cars in the near future.