Infiniti announces M35h 'driver's hybrid'

Infiniti has announced that it will introduce the M35h saloon, a so-called "driver's hybrid" in Europe and the US in 2011. The message is very similar to that used to sell rival Lexus hybrids, which stresses the performance, rather than economy, strengths of the technology.

The M35h will pair a 3.5 litre V6 petrol engine with a 68-horsepower electric motor embedded in the car's seven-speed automatic transmission. Infiniti says that its hybrid system is a fairly simple set-up, but like Toyota's hybrids, and unlike Honda's, it still has the ability to operate in "electric-only" mode for short distances with the petrol engine decoupled. Like most recent electric cars, the M35h uses lithium-ion battery technology, which Infiniti says allows for a faster charge/discharge response, which means that electric power will be provided more of the time and at higher speeds than in other hybrids.