Ariel is already responsible for some of the craziest cars on the road today. The small UK firm made a name for itself with the Atom, before expanding to create the rugged Nomad and two-wheeled Ace. Now, the Somerset-based team has turned its attention to electric power for what promises to be Ariel's maddest car yet – the HIPERCAR (HIgh PERformance CARbon Reduction).
Usually, supercar reveals are a painful, drawn-out process that are big on hype and light on detail. Ariel has gone in a different direction and provided details about the series hybrid powertrain that will power its as-yet unnamed car. Electric power will come from a heated and cooled lithium-ion battery pack with 42 or 56 kWh of storage. It'll be backed by a small, unleaded gasoline-fueled 35-kW (47-hp) micro-turbine acting as a range extender.
The car will be available in two- or four-wheel drive, thanks to inboard motors hooked up to step-down single-speed gearboxes. Each motor produces 220 kW (295 hp) of power and 450 Nm (332 lb-ft) of torque, which means two-wheel drive cars make 440 kW (590 hp) and a whopping 900 Nm (664 lb-ft) of torque. Mathematicians among you will have already worked this out, but the four-wheel drive model has a total of 880 kW (1,180 hp) and 1,800 Nm (1,328 lb-ft).
Those figures are measured at the motor – the way Ariel has geared the motors means the car produces 9,900 Nm (7,302 lb-ft) at the wheels in the all-wheel drive car or 4,950 Nm (3,651 lb-ft) in two-wheel drive trim. All that torque won't actually be available to the driver, but those figures should make for some pretty incredible rolling acceleration figures regardless.
They also make for some pretty incredible standing acceleration figures. The range-topping car will hit 60 mph (97 km/h) in just 2.4 seconds, 100 mph (161 km/h) in 3.8 seconds and strolls on to 150 mph (241 km/h) in just 7.8 seconds. The car runs out of puff (or runs into a limiter, we don't know at this point) at 160 mph (257 km/h).
Given the immense power on offer, and the complexity of handling a 750-V battery pack, range extender, multiple motors and raft of low-voltage systems that need managing in a car like this, it should come as no surprise that the electrical architecture in the car will rely on multiple CAN (Controller Area Network) systems. According to Ariel, they will allow the powertrain, driver assist and battery controllers to communicate with the 12-V and safety systems.
Manufacturers have the ability to fine-tune electric motors in ways you simply can't with those powered by internal combustion engines. Given how much control it has over the amount of torque being sent to each wheel, it'll be interesting to see how Ariel sets up the torque-vectoring, traction control and stability control systems in the HIPERCAR, and how that will differ from the approach taken in electric supercars like the Concept_One.
The motors will be attached to a folded and bonded aluminum chassis, complete with full rollover protection and subframes at both ends that play host to aluminum wishbones and fully adjustable (outboard) suspension. The wheels will either be forged or carbon composite units, wrapped in 265/35R20 front and 325/30R21 rear tires.
We don't know what the finished car will look like at the moment, but we do have a few computer renders providing hints. Unlike the Nomad and Atom, both of which are open-topped and light in bodywork, the cockpit of the car will be completely closed. Based on the renders, we're tipping the finished product will look like a closed-top cross between a KTM X-Bow and the Ariel Atom.
Pricing hasn't been announced, but don't expect the HIPERCAR to be cheap. It's set for a full reveal in 2019, with production slated for 2020. Oh, and just so you know – that name is just a placeholder, so don't let it dissuade you.
Source: Ariel Motor Company