Located in Somerset, England, Ariel Motor Company is a tiny automaker known mostly for its lightweight track monster, the Ariel Atom. While technically street-legal, the Atom has barely any bodywork, giving it a supercar-like power-to-weight ratio. But according to the latest report, Ariel’s about to introduce a car that’s far, far more extreme.
Autocar reports that later this month, Ariel will take the wraps off a nearly 1,200-hp all-wheel-drive electric supercar that will go on sale in 2020. Called the P40, at least internally, it will hit 150 mph in a claimed 7.8 seconds thanks to an expected 3,500-pound curb weight. Each wheel will be powered by a 295-hp motor, with power coming from a centrally mounted 42-kilowatt-hour battery. Ariel also plans to offer a rear-wheel-drive version that gets a slightly larger 56-kWh battery. To compensate for the relatively limited 100-120-mile all-electric range, the P40 will also get a turbine range extender.
Yes, you read that right. Ariel is building a 1,180-hp turbine-electric hybrid supercar. Like Jaguar’s impossibly cool C-X75 concept, only Ariel intends to actually build the P40. Even though it’s only expected to be able to drive flat-out on the track for about 15 minutes, when it hits the streets, it’ll easily be one of the coolest cars we’ve ever seen. Because it’s a turbine-electric hybrid.
And that’s the craziest thing about this whole story. It didn’t come from some random press release sent out by an electric supercar startup we’ve never heard of. As far as we can tell, Autocar actually got this information from Ariel. Simon Saunders, Ariel’s founder, even went on the record confirming the car is coming.
“We’re building tomorrow’s aspirational car using our small-company agility to beat the big companies,” Saunders told Autocar.” We love the Ariels we make now, but we know we have to embrace new technology. If we don’t, in 20 years we’ll be making antiques, and we could even be legislated out of existence.”
The fact that Ariel felt the need to develop an electric supercar because new regulations may force it out of business is sad. But on the other hand, you’ll actually be able to buy a turbine-electric hybrid supercar.