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Tokyo show: Nissan electrifies with Ariya

Nissan enters next phase of electrification process with next-generation EV platform

24 Oct 2019

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in TOKYO

NISSAN has at last unveiled its second-generation electric vehicle (EV) architecture in the form of the Ariya Concept SUV, which is powered by twin electric motors that provide a seamless and engaging all-wheel-drive experience.

 

Though a so-called concept, the Ariya is promised to be very close to the production version expected to debut in its final form sometime in the third quarter of next year at a special temporary pavilion the company has created at its headquarters in Yokohama, Tokyo.

 

Said to be completely unrelated to the Leaf EV, the Ariya also ushers in Nissan’s new design direction, which is known internally as ‘powerful minimalism’ by the company’s chief designer, Alfonso Albaisa, as part of a broader ‘Timeless Japanese Futurism’ ethos. The latter strives to maintain a Japanese flavour combined with “a refreshing perspective”.

 

Key elements of this include an electrified V-motion ‘shield’ grille, a rear light blade and short overhangs – features previewed in the Ariya Concept’s 2017 Tokyo motor show predecessor, the IMx Concept. Other visual standouts include a steeply raked C-pillar, a one-piece light blade with blacked-out lenses running across the body’s width, flared rear wheelarches and a rear-mounted wing. Length, width and height dimensions are 4600mm, 1920mm and 1630mm respectively.

 

Mr Albaisa went on to state that, unlike with the Leaf when it was styled almost 15 years ago and so deliberately made to look and feel familiar as to not scare away new-to-EV consumers, the Ariya was approached as a clean-sheet opportunity that was free of the constraints of internal-combustion engine (ICE) vehicle packaging.

 

The upshot is incredible space utilisation to make the crossover feel more like it is from the next class-size above, aided by the embracement of a flat floor, a minimalist dashboard unencumbered by physical switchgear and buttons, and ultra-thin seat frames.

 

Targeting young drivers with a family, the Ariya is also a step upmarket for Nissan as it also adopts a suite of driver-assist systems such as the Level 2 autonomous ‘Pro Pilot 2.0’ hands-off driving set-up as well as higher-quality materials inside. The goal is to create a sort of ‘living room’ environment that promotes calmness and wellbeing while providing easier connectivity.

 

Nissan is remaining coy as to what the motor and battery outputs as well as what the other mechanical specifications are. According to Mr Albaisa, the Ariya’s performance will also help justify its loftier positioning.

 

“Acceleration is immediate. It’s fast, very fast,” he revealed. “Surprisingly so. This has also helped shape the car for us. It’s one of the reasons why it looks dynamic and spirited. You want to drive it… it also handles fantastically because the centre of gravity is so low.”

 

More information will be divulged in the coming months, but for now, the Ariya represents one of the most important Nissans to be unveiled in years.

 

“The Ariya Concept represents a strong collaboration between design and engineering,” according to Nissan Motor Company representative executive officer Yasuhiro Yamauchi.

 

“It is the next stage of Nissan’s future design language as we embark on a new era for the company – the next stage in our evolution.”


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