Ariel has shown its next all-new model after the Atom and the Nomad and not only is it the first Ariel with doors, but it’s also the first one with any kind of electrification. It looks about as close as any car ever to a road-going Batmobile, it has 1,180 horsepower from its four electric motors and it also has a small jet engine on-board that acts like a range extender.
The low-volume sports car manufacturer has been working on the Hipercar (name will change for the actual production model) for several years and now they have a working prototype. Top Gear was able to get some time behind the wheel and even as an early prototype, it shows a lot of promise.
Ariel says it wants to get the model’s weight down to 1,499 kg (3,305 pounds) for production from the prototype’s 1,759 kg (3,877 pounds). This should further enhance its already very good handling and it should also make it feel even quicker when accelerating, while also having a positive effect on its efficiency and range.
Gallery: Ariel Hipercar
The Hipercar prototype weighs nearly three times more than the lightest Atom, which tips the scales at just 612 kg (1,349 pounds) and it only has a small 56 kWh battery pack. One-charge range is rated at 150 miles (240 km), but thanks to the range extender, the vehicle can travel considerably further.
The turbine that is used to generat electricity is quite small and only makes 47 horsepower, yet it is enough to keep the battery charged even during spirited driving. They do mention in the video that for flat-out track driving, the range extender isn’t enough to keep the car on track or an entire day, yet it will still allow for much more track time than had it been a pure EV.
In case you wanted to hear the turbine range-extender running in this video, well, you’re not going to. When they try to do an acceleration run with lower state of charge, the vehicle sputters due to the low battery voltage, as well as the fact that the jet doesn’t start.