The new Nissan Ariya is a forward-looking electric car, which a Hungarian helped come to life. Zoltán Szalai, the model’s senior product manager, told the target audience a few things about the development and some interesting specs of the new Nissan electric car.
Nissan recently unveiled its own electric car, the Ariya, whose senior product manager is a young Hungarian man. Hvg was able to talk to him for the extent of a short article. After studying in London, Zoltán Szalai was employed by Nissan and has been working in the company’s headquarters in Japan for 6 years now. Zoltán Szalai told Hvg that the development of the car started in 2015, and he joined the project in 2017. It usually takes 5-6 years for Nissan to develop a new model, and the Ariya was no exception.
“It was hard not to tell anyone about what I was working on, even though it was very exciting to help develop a new car. I can finally talk about it now,” said Szalai, who revealed that the product is ready – only some paperwork is needed until production can begin.
Hundreds have been involved in the process, but the core development team included only 10-15 people. The goal was to show what Nissan can do. The model’s name, Ariya, means ‘respect’ in Sanskrit. Zoltán said that when choosing a name, they need to consider whether it is sensitive in another language or how difficult it is to pronounce it around the world. The name of the four-wheel-drive version of the Ariya, the e-4ORCE, was invented by Zoltán himself, and he finds it funny to face the fact that not everyone likes that name.
Before revealing the new model, Nissan took it to some of the most serious electric car markets, and according to Zoltán, this was useful because they got feedback from everyday users. Although the car was developed in Japan, interestingly, the design was drawn by the company’s London staff under the direction of an American chief designer, simply because decision-makers at Nissan liked the concept of that office the best.
Zoltán’s favourite element in the car is the taillights. It may look like black glass, but an advanced LED technology is responsible for the spectacular solution.
With a length of 4.59 metres, the Ariya is a category C crossover. Its main rival may be the Tesla Model Y. Nissan wanted to keep the weight as low as possible. The base model is 1.8 tonnes, but the more equipped version is 2.3 tonnes. Much of the mass are the batteries hidden under the passenger compartment, which are more modern than those used in the Nissan Leaf, and they have liquid cooling.
The 65 kW/h battery of the base model allows a range of 360 kilometres according to the WLTP standard, while the 90 kW/h version has a range of 500 kilometres. The new model can accelerate from 0-100 in 7.5 seconds. The car has 215-240 horsepower, 300 N-m, but the top speed is limited to 160 km/h. The all-wheel-drive Ariya also has an electric motor at the rear, so that model has 275-390 horsepower with a torque of 560-600 N-m. The e-4ORCE models, which can go as fast as 200 km/h, accelerate from 0-100 in just over 5 seconds.
The trunk is 468 litres for the two-wheel-drive model and 415 litres for the all-wheel drive. In addition to the normal, eco, sports, and slippery road modes, it is also interesting that the system can send 100% power to the drive both forwards and backwards.
According to Zoltán Szalai, Ariya is not only about speed, but also about the driving experience, even if at first glance you would not think that about this crossover.
The car can be charged from an AC pole with 7.2-22 kW and from the DC pole with 130 kW. This may lag behind rivals, but it does not mean a slower charge than other electric cars. Nissan achieved that the maximum charging performance is constant for most of the charging time. A range of about 300 kilometres can be achieved with a 30-minute charge. The company guarantees the condition of the batteries for 8 years or 160,000 kilometres.
In terms of self-driving, Ariya is on the same level as Tesla. The car can drive itself on the highway without the driver holding the steering wheel, but it is not yet able to do so in the city. In addition to a parking assistant, it is also capable of remote parking, which can be accessed from the key but will later be available from a smartphone. The car’s functions can be accessed with voice commands, and even smart home control is available through the integrated Alexa.
The dashboard consists of two huge 12.3-inch displays, and the one in the middle is touch-sensitive. The European market price of the Nissan Ariya is not yet known, but the base model’s price was 5,000,000 ¥ (14,100,000 forints) in Japan. It is estimated that it will cost about €44,400 in Europe. The official price will be announced in January 2021 when pre-orders in Hungary will start.
The first cars will be available to buyers in Japan next summer, and it will probably be available at dealers in Europe next autumn.
The Ariya is an unadulterated flagship and a technological show-off from Nissan. The company wants to sell a large amount of the new model, and the Chinese supplier has promised that this will not be hindered by a shortage of batteries.