Concepts are rarely intended to be developed much beyond the exploratory phase, yet the projects still require precious time and valuable resources – both a blessing and bane. On the surface, the INFINITI Vision Qe concept is notable for its elegant and futuristic silhouette, one revealing the brand’s vision for their own EV fleet. Behind the scenes, and from a design perspective, the Vision Qe concept represents a quiet revolution – an example of the automotive industry’s migration away from physical clay modeling toward fully digital explorations intended to streamline both the development of concepts and production vehicles in the era of EVs.
Just like any other concept before it, the INFINITI Vision Qe concept began as a series of rough sketches, aggressively drawn with swept lines of aerodynamic purpose. “Everything is anchored around a single pure gesture,” said INFINITI Exterior Designer Kazuki Aoyama. A single line flows from the INFINITI emblem at the front, along the bodyside, and accelerates towards the rear, and everything follows that line,”
From those initial sketches, the INFINITI design team would explore new methodologies to transform drawings into a dimensional model. The quiet revolution was spearheaded by Kenji Yamauchi, a digital and clay modeler within the global INFINITI design team. With Yamauchi’s experience working in traditional clay and digital tools, the nine designers were able to establish a new “phy-gital” process allowing the INFINITI team to transform a digital render into physical 50cm concept model. This allowed the exterior design team to examine the concept’s character and proportions without the time and labor intensive requirements of modeling the vehicle from clay.
“As designers, we aren’t seeking to create something that’s just beautiful, rather, we want to create something that evokes a deeper response,” said INFINITI Exterior Designer Masanobu Ino. “If people feel a sense of shock or intrigue when looking at the Vision Qe concept, that’s more in line with our intention and brings to life the philosophy of Kabuku. Pairing beauty with a deeper emotional response was our goal.” The resulting full-scale concept reveals a sleek fastback sedan that looks nearly ready for production (sans its immensely intricate and beautiful wheels).
Photos fail to capture the unique color chemistry explored in developing the concept’s Shadow blue paint, a hue that changes depending upon viewing distance thanks to its mixture of carbon nanotubes, glass, and gold flakes to bring a sense of depth and mystique. INFINITI says the paint is intended to evoke a sense of depth as one experiences while gazing out into “a distant galaxy.”
INFINITI designers also replaced the brand’s signature double arch radiator grille with a graphic front facia sculpted with lines further accentuated by LED lights.
The Vision Qe concept’s Shadow blue paint is further enhanced by the contrast against its dynamic and graphic golden spoked wheels, a design featuring a subtle gradation applied from the outer to innermost area of the spokes.
The Vision Qe concept is currently on display at INFINITI’s global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, and scheduled to make its public debut further along in 2024 at a yet to be announced motor show. We can only hope to see some of the sleek fastback sedan’s profile glide its way into the form of a production vehicle soon thereafter.