Days after announcing its $18 billion Ambition 2030 plan, Nissan showed what its electric powertrains are hypothetically capable by introducing the Ariya Single Seater Concept at a special event.
The Ariya is the Japanese automakers second battery-electric vehicle following the Leaf, which made its debut more than a decade ago. The crossover is following the lead of many of its competitors with a simple crossover/sport-utility body.
However, the Ariya concept revealed early Thursday by Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan senior vice president for global design, and Juan Manuel Hoyos, Nissan global marketing divisional general manager for brand and engagement.
“We are delighted to present the Nissan Ariya Single Seater Concept from our Nissan Futures event,” said Hoyos. “At Nissan, we dare to do what others don’t. With this concept we want to showcase the high-performance potential of the Ariya’s powertrain in a motorsports-inspired package that not only hints at the design and styling of the road car that inspired it, but that also demonstrates a new and efficient EV performance language.
“Acting as a testbed for future technological evolution, this project can help bring excitement from the road to the racetrack, and also demonstrate Nissan’s expertise in transferring knowledge and technology from the racetrack to the road.”
In essence, the concept is what the company’s electrification efforts could lead to both in terms of performance and style.
Ariya in the present
The current model travels about 300 miles on a single charge while it also opts for a more current SUV-style body and adds plenty of additional features.
The new model “is the spearhead, showing our vision of the future,” said Ivan Espinosa, the carmaker’s senior vice president of global product planning, during its debut ahead of the LA Auto Show. “Ariya is not just an EV,” he emphasized. “It is showing the technical prowess of … what Nissan stands for.”
The concept, which borrows the Ariya’s color scheme liberally, takes many of its design cues from it as well, especially the illuminated “V” on the nose of the single seater. It’s not only practical exercise in what can be done to stretch the performance of the road-ready powertrain, but also to see how the company’s new design language can be employed.
“As we began to shape our Nissan Ambition 2030 long-term vision, we continued to build on our Timeless Japanese Futurism design language. We are now drawing inspiration from the Japanese words shun, meaning to run fast and effortlessly, and show, meaning to soar with power and grace,” said Albaisa.
“The Ariya Single Seater Concept is the perfect expression of this new language. Leveraging the Ariya’s EV powertrain in a motorsports-inspired package allowed our international team to capture this new sense of speed, technology and artistry.”
Looks like a race car, but is it?
Nissan races in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. Those efforts played a “key role” in concept’s development, officials noted. Nissan races in the all-electric world championship to bring the excitement and fun of zero-emission electric vehicles to a global audience, and to be at the cutting edge of EV research and design.
“Nissan competes in Formula E not only to race on track, but also to support the development of compelling electric vehicles for customers,” said Tommaso Volpe, Nissan global motorsports director.
“Our EV programs inform our Formula E program and vice versa, allowing for road-to-track technology transfer as well as track-to-road. The Nissan Ariya Single Seater Concept explores the combination of the all-electric powertrain, dual motors and revolutionary all-wheel drive system of the Ariya with a pure single seat racing chassis — a powerful demonstration of just how thrilling electric vehicles could be.”