Infiniti has drawn up a road-map to electrify its portfolio from 2021 onward. A major milestone on this journey is the new Project Black S prototype which was unveiled in Paris on October 1, 2018. The prototype, drawing on expertise from across the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, demonstrates the brand’s commitment to developing high-performance electrified powertrains that fuse the Formula One dual-hybrid electric powertrain technology with Infiniti’s award-winning VR30 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine.
The ‘Black S’ designation represents the highest level of performance, dynamic capability, effective aerodynamics and intelligent energy management offered by Infiniti. The prototype is based on the Q60 red S sports coupe and has been developed together with the Renault Sport Formula One Team.
“Infiniti has reached another milestone on its road to electrification. Building on the strength and success of the electric vehicle expertise of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, Infiniti is showing the Project Black S, a high-performance prototype with F1 technology resulting from collaboration within the Alliance.” – Roland Krueger, Chairman and Global President at Infiniti.
The dual-hybrid powertrain’s unique ‘energy recovery system’ (ERS) contributes to higher power and torque than the engine upon which it is based. It generates 563 hp, whereas the conventional VR30 engine produces 400 hp. The power to weight ratio is estimated to be 235W/kg, achieving 0-100 km acceleration in below four seconds.
The prototype’s powertrain uniquely employs three motor generator units (MGU). A single MGU-K unit harvests kinetic energy from braking while the engine’s twin electric turbochargers are fitted with two MGU-H units, to harvest heat energy from exhaust gases. This enables the powertrain to generate electrical power under both braking and acceleration.
The development prototype balances the organic, artistic design of the Q60 sports coupe with greater aerodynamic efficiency and high levels of downforce with a functional motorsport-inspired performance aesthetic. Partnering with the Renault Sport Formula One Team has given Infiniti access to more specialist development technologies, including advanced digital validation tools for optimising the car’s aerodynamics.
This expertise is evident on the high-tech design of the rear wing, validated by the Renault Formula One Team’s aerodynamicists and finished in carbon fibre. The wing has a similar aerodynamic profile to the Formula One Team’s ‘Monza’ wing, which provides a relatively low level of downforce for a Formula One car around one of the faster circuits in the sport’s calendar. For a development vehicle based on a homologated road car, the impact is significant. The digital modelling technology allowed for subtle changes to the shape and proportions of the wing, which now offers a fine-tuned compromise between maximum straight-line stability and high-traction under cornering.
“The Project Black S represents the very top end of electrification in the Alliance portfolio and is another example of Infiniti’s entrepreneurial spirit on its journey to electrification from 2021 onward. ‘Project Black S’ utilises high power and smart energy management from advanced powertrains, a thrilling dynamic capability on road and track, and a performance-oriented aesthetic. A collaborative venture between Infiniti and the Renault Sport Formula One Team, the Project Black S prototype is a test-bed for new ideas and technologies, demonstrating how our Alliance partnerships could make our ambitious visions a reality,” added Krueger.
Since the 2016 season, Infiniti has been a technical partner of the Renault Sport Formula One team, contributing its expertise in hybrid performance.