Finally, a second electric vehicle from Nissan is on the horizon with the Japanese carmaker naming its electric crossover concept “Ariya” following its unveil at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show and confirming it is “near-production”.
Nissan has been a leader in all-electric vehicles for nearly a decade now, first selling its popular Nissan Leaf hatchback back in 2010 and its e-NV200 electric van since 2014.
Now, another electric vehicle will finally join the best-selling Nissan Leaf, of which more than than 400,000 have been delivered to customers worldwide. A 2021 release is expected for the Ariya when it finally goes into production.
Expanding on its IMx concept that it first unveiled at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan say the Ariya electric crossover will form a “bookend” for its future electric models with the cute and chic urban IMk city car placed at the other end.
Its name, Nissan says, is reflective of the forward thinking embodied in the vehicle’s futuristic design.
“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 representative executive officer Yasuhiro Yamauchi in a statement.
“After much deliberation, we selected Ariya, a name that is both forward thinking yet reflective of the past.”
We first got an inkling that the electric crossover was getting closer to production in September when Nissan gave a sneak peak to US dealers.
Based on the IMx concept , the Ariya remains true to Nissan’s original vision which the Japanese carmaker said at the time addressed Nissan’s commitment to changing how people connect with their vehicles.
“It’s ultra-sleek, seamless, sharp and powerful,” said Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan’s senior vice president of global design in a statement to the press.
“The groundbreaking platform dreamed by our engineers, and shaped by our advanced electric powertrain and packaging, inspired our global design team to reflect and give form to to the innovation within.
In terms of design, the Ariya concept embraces a new trend we are seeing in modern EV concepts such as sweeping dash with expansive touchscreens and geometric highlights to accentuate the feeling of driving the future.
On the outside, the extreme angular styling of the IMx gives away to a subtler language, with copper highlights on the roofline and wheels.
A steep C-pillar redefines the traditional profile of an SUV, helping to shape the low-line roof.
“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,” Albaisa says.
“The surprisingly short overhangs, large cabin, large wheels and tailored two-tone paint scheme provide an elegant appearance that balances sport and luxury.”
On the front, the traditional grille is replaced with a 3D textured shield that hides a host of sensors to feed the ProPilot 2.0 driver assist that will come as standard with the production model.
“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.”
ProPilot 2.0 will offer high level driver assist technologies such as hands-off driving in a single lane (with driver attention), as well as assistance with overtaking, lane changes and exiting highways.
Inside, the minimal dash does away with the clutter of traditional nobs and dials.
Being Japanese, the Ariya has the advantage (for Australia and New Zealand) of being built first up in right hand drive, as we can see in the concept images.
There is no word yet on when and if it will make it to Australia where SUVs sell well (we have reached out to Nissan to find out).
Nissan has not specified details such as driving range and power, but if it has stayed true to the original IMx concept we can expect to see a range of over 600km – whether that will finally come with a liquid cooled battery is yet to be seen.
Still, it is clear that Nissan believes the future of transport is electric – and that it has more to offer than just a move away from carbon emissions.
“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,” said Yamauchi.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.