Ariel's hybrid hypercar

The British automaker plans the fast P40, funded in part by the Innovate UK government program.
1 September, 2017
Ariel, the automotive company known for its exciting approach to vehicle design, says it's going to build the world's fastest electric hypercar – a ride that can hit 160 km/h in just 3.8 seconds.
It'll be a few years before they're available, but the concept is so intriguing that the makers of Atom and Nomad are already showing off the plans for another lightweight vehicle that relies on aluminium components.

It's a big leap from the track cars but this project, called the HIPERCAR for its focus on High Performance Carbon Reduction, is a collaborative effort to deliver the real deal. Partners include Equipmake, the company responsible for building the electric motor, and Delta Motorsport, for batteries and turbine.
Ariel Atom 3S Image: Wheelsage
"Like other Ariels we want HIPERCAR to represent excellent value for money for the remarkable performance on offer," says Simon Saunders, the founder of Ariel. All that exhilaration will be pricey though. "It will be an expensive car because of the technology involved but when compared to £1m+ supercars, which it will outperform, it's going to represent excellent value for money," he adds. "This is the first true electric supercar that will cross continents, drive to town and lap a race track."

The vehicle will be made in both two- and four-wheel drive versions, each based on a folded and bonded aluminium chassis with full rollover protection. The HIPERCAR structure also features aluminium front and rear subframes, with aluminium wishbones and outboard adjustable suspension. Forged or carbon composite wheels are planned, and they'll carry 265/35/20 at the front with 325/30/21 rear tires.
Image: Flipboard
It won't be called HIPERCAR once it goes on the market, but the speed and innovation will be the same. The car features a 750 Volt, 42 kWh or 56kWh, lithium-ion battery pack. The range for the electric vehicle isn't announced yet, but there's a 35kW micro-turbine range extender so that drivers will always be able to take the Ariel farther – and the vehicle won't need to rely on charging infrastructure, which in some places has lagged behind the electrical vehicles themselves in development and availability.

Ariel says the vehicle's electrical architecture consists of high and low voltage systems linked by multiple CAN networks enabling the Powertrain Controller, Vehicle Dynamic Control Interface and Battery Controller to communicate and interact with 12V and safety systems.

The powered wheels are driven by motors with single speed step-down gearboxes direct to the driven wheels, with each individual motor developing 220kW (295bhp) and 450Nm (332 ft lb) of torque. In four-wheel drive, that will deliver 1,180 bhp (880 kW) with half that in the two-wheel drive models.
Images: Top Gear
On the inside, the two-seater cockpit is formed from aluminium and carbon; from the outside, the futuristic P40 car looks a little like the Batmobile, and gives the sense that if much more power were added, the HIPERCAR really could fly. In fact, part of the innovation and engineering work is meant to be applied to other projects and perhaps disciplines.

"Why are we doing this now? Well, if we don't get involved now we will be left behind, and we will be making antiques in a few years' time" Saunders said in a recent interview. "Plus there's a raft of things that aren't necessarily pure automotive that this project could help with."

Ariel plans the big HIPERCAR reveal at the LCV 2017 low-carbon vehicle show at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, where Innovate UK plans to display 10 of its automotive projects.
Banner image: Autoweek