Infiniti’s Prototype 9 is a modern electric car with 1940s retro racer roots


Days of thunder future past? Infiniti’s newest race car prototype is actually inspired by vintage race vehicles of the 1940s, with a torpedo-style sleek cylindrical body and offset wheels at the end of extended axes. The drivetrain of the so-called ‘Prototype 9,’ however, is all 2017: It’s an electric motor, combined with a 30 kWh battery pack.

Here’s what I like about this car: It’s very cool looking. Also it has the equivalent of 148 hp and 236 lb ft of torque, with a top speed of 105 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 5.5 seconds. It can run for 20 minutes of aggressive track racing on that battery pack with a full charge, and the hammer-head look of the front end with the exaggerated grill is a damn nice piece of industrial design.

[gallery ids="1528592,1528593,1528594,1528595,1528596,1528597,1528598,1528599,1528600"]

Nissan’s motor department built the engine, which is a prototype not yet used on any kind of production car. It seems mostly made for showing off at the super-fancy Concours D’Elegance, which is some kind of highfalutin car show at Pebble Beach golf course.

Another interesting thing about the Prototype 9 is that it uses steel throughout, from frame to body panels. This is again more of a throwback, especially for an EV, since most modern electric cars favor lighter materials like aluminum to help lower overall body weight and aim for more range.

The car is also completely silent, which is unusual for a race car but not for an EV. Infinity says its design was inspired by Japanese archers, and the silent, speedy arrows that they let loose from their bows.