Baby Steps Lead to Giant Leaps: Infiniti Ramps Up a Luxury Hybrid with F1 Technology

Luxury Hybrid Performance Car Infiniti Project Black S

Superpowered performance and the Sally Wing, named for its 24-year-old designer

Everyone is gunning for Tesla these days: Luxury cars of the future that lead with sustainability, innovative technology, high design and disrupting the status quo in automotive.

We told you how BMW will shift its entire lineup to electric. Similarly, Jaguar is using Formula E racing to develop new technology, and Audi is building a future on electric SUVs that consumers have said they want. Additionally, Ford’s research and development lab is focused on simulating and testing for NASCAR.

Infinite’s team is up there with them, innovating an electrification model that will dominate its cars by 2021. All this means it’s completely plausible that your next car could be an electric car.

So you better get ready.

Luxury Hybrid Performance Car Infiniti Project Black S

Infiniti’s partnership with Formula 1 is branded on the door’s kickplate. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The Next Era of Infiniti: Hyper efficiency through hyper speed

At the 2018 Mondial de l’Automobile, a.k.a. the Paris Motor Show, Infiniti introduced its next step in that mission. Project Black S is a novel approach to hybrid technology that takes it all a step further. Traditional hybrids recapture unused energy from braking and cruising, storing it in a battery for use when idling and driving at low speeds. Infiniti’s system actually harvests energy created by the twin turbo V6 400 horsepower gas-fueled engine, doubling the amount of energy stored and using it to boost performance – up to 563 horsepower in top mode – not simply to save fuel.

Infiniti developed this system in partnership with Formula One to create a performance car that will win hearts and increase heart rates on the track. Research and development that is honed on the track has become the industry norm, spurring innovations across the industry, from fuel efficiency to autonomous driving.

Further Reading: Why the Infiniti QX50 steals my heart

Luxury Hybrid Performance Car Infiniti Project Black S

Infiniti chief of design Alfonso Albiasa with the Project Black S. Photo: Scotty Reiss

This Super Car Has a Familiar, Sexy Shape

These cars are often unfamiliar creatures, sized and shaped purely for racing. However, that’s not the case at all with Project Black S. It’s built from the Infiniti Q60 coupe, keeping the car’s elegant silhouette and graceful lines.

“We made very few changes,” chief designer Alfonso Albaisa told me. His inspiration for the Q60 was his childhood home, Miami. There are only two major details that differ from the coupe on the Black S. The engineering team needed to add more air vents to expel hot air from the engine, so they added carbon fiber vents to the hood. Also, they added a performance wing to the rear. This channels air efficiently away from the rear and keeps the rear end anchored to the road.

However, the Q60 coupe is a four-passenger, two-door car, while the Project Black S is a two-passenger car. When will this technology make it to a four-door or four-passenger car?

“I’m not sure,” Alfonso laughed, agreeing that a car like this is more fun when you can take everyone along.

Further Reading: The Q60 coupe that inspired he Project Black S

Luxury Hybrid Performance Car Infiniti Project Black S

Sally Lee, designer of the Sally Wing, with the Infiniti Project Black S. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Meet Sally Lee, the 24-Year-Old Master of Performance Technology

Producing the wing proved a challenge. The development team includes a number of young engineers in the Infiniti Engineering Academy. They collaborated on much of the development of Project Black S. Sally Lee, a native of Chengdu, China, is the only girl on the team. When the wing challenge came up, she submitted a design. However, she didn’t think Infiniti would actually use it. In fact, they initially chose another design to tested, but it wasn’t effective enough.

Then, they tried out Sally’s, and it ended up being the design they went with. Sally was thrilled and surprised to learn that her wing design was the winning choice. And the official name is the Sally Wing.

Luxury Hybrid Performance Car Infiniti Project Black S

The details in the Sally Wing that keep its efficiency high include the angled spikes that channel air. Photo: Scotty Reiss

As humbled as Sally was to have her design implemented, she is just as thrilled to be forging new territory for women.

“If you like cars, like engineering, and want to change the world by engineering thinking,” Sally says, “do what you want. Don’t care what boys say. Believe in yourself. That’s what I did.”

That kind of thinking is changing our world: challenging the norms, turning passions into reality, proving that your beliefs can lead to innovation. The future really is electric.

Luxury Hybrid Performance Car Infiniti Project Black S

The Sally Wing on the Infiniti Project Black S. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Infiniti Is Partnering With Formula One To Develop A Super-Powered Luxury Hybrid Racer. And What'S Special Is The Sally Wing, Designed By Sally Lee.

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss