Sportscar-like performance from a practical, affordable battery-powered crossover?
Electric motors have completely upended the status quo in the realm of automotive performance, allowing relatively pedestrian products like the Tesla Model S to demolish high-performance thoroughbreds in contests of straight-line acceleration.
Heck, even the Chevrolet Bolt can hit 60 mph from a standstill in a hot-hatch-like 6.5 seconds.
So, it should come as little surprise that the production version of Nissan's battery-electric Ariya crossover concept will punch above its weight in terms of 0-to-60 vigor. The concept was teased with a 0-to-60-mph time below five seconds, putting it in the same class as plenty of high-price sportscars from the last two decades, and while we don't know how close the production version will land to that approximation, Nissan's Alfonso Albaisa recently seemed to suggest it wouldn't be far off.
"Even the real version of Ariya is fast - faster or as fast as a Z car," Nissan's Senior VP of Global Design told Green Car Reports this month. The 370Z scoots to 60 mph in a respectable five-and-a-bit seconds, weighing a lot less and having a smaller frontal area.
But it's not just about straight-line acceleration, Albaisa says. "Electric motors have changed the world because this idea of a pure 0-60 is less a differentiator. How you use it, how you deliver it, what it means, and for the supercars, how many laps you can do, that matters."
Consequently, the Nissan Ariya will deliver in metrics other than raw acceleration. As in the Nissan Leaf, the heavy battery pack will be mounted in the vehicle's floor, lowering the center of gravity to limit body roll. Additionally, a brand new e-4orce electric AWD system, which will see dual motors integrated with Nissan's existing chassis control and stability control systems, promises smoother, more controlled cornering.
"You'd be surprised the kind of cars we can beat on a G-test on snow," Albaisa says.
Despite the impressive performance envelope, Nissan's Senior Design VP claims the volume-production version of the Ariya won't wear an inflated price tag, instead being positioned as an affordable, bigger, more versatile alternative to the Leaf.
The production Ariya is expected to arrive sometime in the second half of 2021.