The Ariel Atom Could Go Hybrid in the Future
For some time, performance fans had pooh-poohed the idea of hybrid gas-electric sports cars, maintaining that hybrids just couldn’t go toe-to-toe with their gas engined counterparts. Fast forward to modern day and many of the world’s extreme hypercars are now hybrids; funny how the attitudes change. But while super sports cars go hybrid, such as the all-new Acura NSX, so too do their more affordable sports car cousins… the Ariel Atom included. In an interview with the UK’s Autocar, Ariel chief Simon Saunders hinted that the superlight track car manufacturer would follow the lead of Honda, its engine provider, in search of higher performance through powertrain hybridization. “The technology in the NSX is cutting-edge and expensive,” Saunders told the outlet. “But it will work its way down the food chain to the hot hatches. At that point, it becomes achievable for us to use in the Atom.” RELATED: See More of the Late-Great 475 HP Ariel Atom V8
Saunders says that his engineering team has made previous attempts to hybridize the Atom platform using existing Honda gas-electric setups, however the systems, which are often geared toward lowering emissions rather than adding power, never contributed enough performance to merit the additional weight and complexity. Currently all North American market Ariel Atoms feature a choice of either a naturally aspirated or turbocharged 2.4-liter Honda four-cylinder, generating 230- or 365 horsepower, respectively.
As technology from the new Acura NSX seeps through Honda’s model range, one can expect that engineering snag to lessen. Further, Saunders admits that fully electric versions of the Ariel Atom could very well be in the pipeline, however time will tell if they make the performance cut.
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As far as other future advancements go, Saunders is mum on specifics. “I can’t go into any details right now,” Saunders told Autocar, “but some of the other stuff we’re looking at is quite different from what we’re doing right now.”
Currently Ariel produces the Atom track car, Nomad off-roader, and Ace motorcycle.
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