Over the past decade, Infiniti has been carefully forging a performance image itself, developing cars with class leading powertrains and dynamics. With the company recently announcing plans for an electric vehicle--something commonly seen as environmentally friendly and completely lacking in the performance department--that carefully formed image could be in jeopardy.

However, while the new electric car will share a platform and most of its components with the relatively mundane 2012 Nissan Leaf, Infiniti fans shouldn’t be worried as the vehicle will lend itself perfectly to the company’s performance image, Infiniti’s North American sales boss, Ben Poore, said previously.

"You can really turn up the performance of those things," he explained. "The model will fit perfectly with the performance standards that we've set for the brand. It's going to be a very cool vehicle."

Not much is known about the car but it will be a global model, which means it will be coming to North American showrooms. When it was first announced, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn described it as being "a compact, high-performance, four-seat luxury Infiniti with zero emissions."

A concept version is already being developed, with an eye toward the production vehicle's design goals described by Ghosn. Initial design proposals looked too much like the Leaf, according to insiders, so expect something much more radical--both inside and out.

No word on any release date but parent company Nissan will have its first electric vehicle, the Leaf, on sale late next year so it’s conceivable that Infiniti’s car will come two to three years later.

[Automotive News, sub req'd]