The Nissan Ariya Concept, introduced at the 46th Tokyo Motor Show, signals the dawn of a new era, says Nissan, as it introduces more electric vehicles (EVs).
The Ariya Concept features a spacious cabin with high-tech features. It expands on design elements first hinted at by the Nissan IMx concept at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. They include an electrified V-motion signature “shield” and striking rear light blade, short overhangs, and an interior that feels more like a lounge than a conventional vehicle.
Although it’s a concept vehicle, the crossover EV’s bold styling and unconventional interior and exterior elements could make it into production in the near future.
“The Ariya Concept represents a strong collaboration between design and engineering,” says Yasuhiro Yamauchi, representative executive officer at Nissan. “It is the next stage of Nissan’s future design language as we embark on a new era for the company – the next stage in our evolution.”
The Ariya Concept shares the stage at the Tokyo Motor Show with the Nissan IMk, an EV urban commuter concept revealed earlier this month. The two vehicles serve as “bookends” for Nissan’s new vision of an electrified brand identity.
A new design language
“A new vehicle architecture means fresh opportunities to redefine how vehicles interact with society, how an EV paired with advanced driving capabilities can offer a new perspective,” says Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan’s senior vice president of global design. “With this vehicle and the IMk concept, we wanted to ensure that the soul of every Nissan car possesses a distinctive Japanese DNA conveyed in a simple-yet-powerfully modern way, something we call ‘Timeless Japanese Futurism.’”
Characterised by the concepts “sleek,” “seamless” and “sexy,” the Nissan Ariya Concept features examples of this new design language throughout the exterior, including wide front fenders, super-thin LED headlights, and front shield (typically a grille on a gasoline-powered vehicle). The shield incorporates a subtle geometric pattern that reveals itself when the electrified V-motion signature is illuminated.
“We replaced the conventional grille with what we call a ‘shield’ – an expressive piece with innovative 3-D texture within that goes beyond cosmetics, but also as a way to highlight the technology lurking within the vehicle,” says Albaisa. “In this case, it’s a radar sensor and other technologies that help the Ariya Concept read the road and visualize things the driver can’t see.”
Highlighting the vehicle’s profile are five-blade, 21-inch aluminium wheels with custom tires. A low, sleek roofline allows the vehicle to reduce air friction. The styling of the Ariya Concept’s rear is also a departure from traditional SUVs, with a steeply raked C-pillar that blends into a muscular rear deck. A one-piece light blade with blacked-out lenses runs across the width of the body. Rear fender flares and a high-mounted rear wing offer not-so-subtle suggestions of the vehicle’s power.
Says Albaisa: “The exterior strikes a balance between dynamic beauty and ‘tech sharpness,’ with proportions that show what’s possible with Nissan’s 100% electric vehicle platform. The surprisingly short overhangs, large cabin, large wheels and tailored two-tone paint scheme provide an elegant appearance that balances sport and luxury.”
The Ariya Concept’s Suisei Blue paint scheme creates a dual appearance, depending on the distance viewed. From afar, the deep blue colour takes on a matte-like finish. Upon closer inspection, large embedded glass flakes produce billions of light refractions, reminiscent of a comet crossing the night sky.
“With a flat floor – made possible by the battery pack layout and absence of an internal combustion engine– the Ariya Concept welcomes occupants as they step in the cabin with a feeling of expansion and openness. Panels blend naturally into each other and flow seamlessly from the front, sides and rear, giving a panoramic impression from any seat position.”
The minimalist dashboard is uncluttered by the buttons and switches found in conventional vehicles. When the Ariya Concept is energised, integrated haptic touch controls along the instrument panel come to life with a glow. When the car is not in use, they disappear into the surface. The only physical controls are the start button, a single knob to operate the 12.3-inch display monitor, and the climate controls, which are ingrained into the instrument panel’s genuine-wood lower section. The instrument panel transitions into the doors and interior elements, to be out of sight when not in use.
The Ariya Concept features the latest version of Nissan’s award-winning driver assistance system, ProPILOT 2.0, for a more confident and comfortable drive. The system combines navigated highway driving with hands-off single-lane driving capabilities. By engaging the vehicle’s navigation system to help manoeuvre the car on a predefined route on designated roads, the system can assist the driver with passing, lane diversions and lane exiting on multi-lane highways.
Built with a high-performance, 100% electric drive system, the Nissan Ariya Concept delivers instant torque to the wheels from a dual front/rear motor drive configuration. This layout delivers balanced, predictable power to all four wheels, equal to or better than many premium sports cars.
“Nissan has a clear vision of global mobility. The Ariya Concept is just the beginning, as Nissan considers how design, packaging and driver enjoyment can be transformed through the architecture of new EV platforms,” says Yamauchi. “The Ariya Concept is not a concept car designed from far off ideas, but rather a car that embodies Nissan Intelligent Mobility at its core and highlights a promise of an entirely new driving experience on the horizon.”
Nissan Ariya Concept Dimensions
Length: 4,6 m
Width (excluding door mirrors): 1,92 m