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Nissan Ariya electric SUV brings brand's stakes upmarket - Roadshow

by Wilbur Penson (2020-09-18) - id="article-body" class="row" section="article-body">

Enlarge ImageNissan Ariya is about the size of the company's Rogue SUV.
"The story is a bit complex," Nissan's senior vice president of design, Alfonso Albaisa, told me of the creation of the Nissan Ariya, the company's upcoming, all-electric SUV that made its international debut Tuesday. While building on the know-how that came since the introduction of the Leaf a decade ago, the Ariya (whose name is pronounced like the musical solo) elevates the emission- and stress-free motoring concept to a new level. Ariya's numbers at least are straightforward, and impressive. When released, this SUV will offer two battery packs: 63 or 87 kilowatt-hours. The smallest is equivalent to the current top-spec battery available in the Leaf Plus, while the larger pack will offer an estimated 300 miles on a charge. Yes, Nissan tells me that's on the US EPA cycle, meaning roughly 75 more miles than today's Leaf.

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The Ariya will also offer optional all-wheel drive and promises engaging handling, with a 50:50 weight distribution and a low center of gravity thanks to its skateboard-like battery pack, an arrangement Nissan fancifully calls Magic Carpet. It's that flat surface, full of possibility, that led the design team to do something radically different. "Ariya was our opportunity to express a purity, because the magic carpet in a sense is a blank slate," Albaisa said. That purity references a core element of Japanese culture that Albaisa wanted to return to the fore in the Ariya: "How can we bring back this cutting-edge side of Japan, the hyper-clean modernism, the undeniable difference but at the same time natural? This is one of the key aspects I believe of Nissan history, that we can innovate with things that don't shock."