Nissan's Ariya EV SUV Concept Is Basically Production-Ready
Expect something like this to hit streets in the near future.
Nissan dropped a couple of electrified concept cars at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show: The Ariya SUV, an electric crossover for families, as well as the tiny IMk electric kei car. While the former is technically a concept, it's close to being production-ready. The name "Ariya" is said to date to ancient times; Nissan said it evokes images of respect and admiration as well as a sense of purpose. The design is a compass to the brand's future with a lineup of electrified vehicles.
"As the new icon of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, representing the next chapter in Nissan's proud heritage of enriching people's lives, we felt that this concept deserved to bear a memorable nameplate," said Yasuhiro Yamauchi, representative executive officer, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. "After much deliberation, we selected Ariya, a name that is both forward thinking yet reflective of the past." The Ariya rides on Nissan's new electric vehicle platform that will underpin many future vehicles, and it has twin electric motors.
A bespoke EV platform comes with the freedom to create a new design direction which Nissan calls "Timeless Japanese Futurism" and it marries minimalist Japanese design with the latest electric, autonomous, and connected technology. The Ariya is the successor to the IMx concept that Nissan showed at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. Design-wise, "it's ultra-sleek, seamless, sharp and powerful," said Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan's senior vice president of global design.
A 3D geometric pattern can be seen throughout the vehicle, including on the front "grille." As a grille is not needed on an electric vehicle, it is referred to as a "shield" that protects the radar, sensors, cameras, and other tech inside. The vehicle has thin LED headlights, a light strip across the back, rear fender flares, and five-blade 21-inch aluminum wheels. The family vehicle has a short overhang, flat floor, a more open footwell, and a thin instrument panel and seats to create a more airy feel in the cabin. Like Tesla cars, there are few buttons or switches on the dash, relying on touchscreens. The vehicle is shown in a dark blue gray with copper tones. Copper is part of traditional Japanese culture and will be a signature color of electric vehicles going forward.
The Ariya was designed to accommodate ProPilot 2.0 driver assistance for a degree of hands-free driving. On highways, it works with the navigation system and can change lanes to pass or exit. The car also works with smartphones to adjust settings, look up information, find parking spots, park remotely, and monitor the level of charge.
Nissan also used the Tokyo Motor Show to unveil the IMk concept kei car, a small urban EV equipped with advanced Nissan Intelligent Mobility technology. You can read more about that one right here.
"These are transformational times for the auto industry, and a new era is opening up for Nissan," said Kunio Nakaguro, Nissan's executive vice president of global research and development. "We have been among the fastest to develop EVs and highly intelligent driving assistance technologies, and, as shown by our two new concept vehicles, we intend to continue our role as a global pioneer."
Nissan is certainly not alone in this quest. All automakers have pivoted their focus to electric vehicles, and many have had models on the road for years. In terms of volume, VW and Mercedes-Benz are among the more ambitious. VW has stepped up its electric commitment in the wake of its diesel emissions scandal, Daimler created the EQ electric brand, Volvo created Polestar as a premium EV and electrification brand, GM is restructuring to fund its electric strategy, and even laggards such as Ford and FCA have programs in the works.