Specialist sports car manufacturer Ariel is developing an amazing hybrid sports car with a micro-turbine range-extender and up to four in-wheel electric motors which will produce a total of 1180bhp. Set to debut in prototype guise next month, the extraordinary project has been codenamed Hipercar and the firm is targeting a 2019 release and production from 2020.
Standing for 'High Performance Carbon Reduction', the Ariel Hipercar will be built around a folded and bonded aluminium chassis, with race-style suspension and either two or four 295bhp in-wheel electric motors. A lithium ion battery pack with up to 56kWh will power them; allaying range anxiety is the option of the 35kW micro-turbine.
Ariel will offer it in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive guise, and Ariel boss Simon Saunders insists it will provide "staggering performance utilising cutting edge UK-developed technology". It will also be built in Somerset, like all Ariels to date.
It's being developed with tech partners Equipmake and Delta Motorsport, who are developing a complex system of onboard communication systems to manage the complex drivetrain. To say it's a step on from current Ariels, which use Honda VTEC 'crate' engines, is putting it mildly...
But, relatively to other £1 million hypercars, Saunders promises us it will not cost a fortune. "Like other Ariels, we want Hipercar to represent excellent value for money for the remarkable performance on offer.
"It will be an expensive car because of the technology involved, but when compared to £1 million-plus supercars, which it will outperform, it's going to represent excellent value for money. This is the first true electric supercar that will cross continents, drive to town and lap a racetrack." And we can't wait to find out more...
Ariel Hipercar: in numbers
Torque: 1330lb ft
0-60mph: 2.4 seconds
0-100mph: 3.8 seconds
0-150mph: 7.8 seconds
Top speed: 160mph