Nissan Ariya: Here’s Everything We Know So Far

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Nissan has been making mass-produced electric cars as long or longer than any other major manufacturer, most of them various iterations of the LEAF. Now it is gearing up to bring its long awaited Ariya electric SUV to market. The Ariya will be available in 4 trim levels — three of them with a single motor powering the front wheels. If you want one with dual motors and all-wheel drive, you need to go with the full zoot, top of the line Platinum+ e-4ORCE [a stupid name that may have been dreamed up by the marketing department after an all night sake party].

First things first. All cars for the US market will be equipped with a 91 kWh battery pack with a usable capacity of 87 kWh (a smaller battery pack may be offered in other markets). Single motor versions of the car will all have a 214 horsepower (160 kW) motor that produces 221 pound-feet (300 Nm) of torque. The dual motor model has 389 horsepower (290 kW) and 442 pound-feet (600 Nm) of torque.

The EPA has not yet confirmed official range estimates, but Nissan says the Venture + will  be able to go 300 miles on a single charge. The Evolve + and Premier will have a range of 285 miles and the dual motor Platinum + e-4ORCE is expected to have a range of 265 miles. All versions of the Ariya have a maximum charging capacity of 130 kW using a DC fast charger and have an onboard 7.2 kW AC charger.

A Disappointment?

Before telling you about all the goodies that come with each model — all of them offer a full suite of electronic driver assist and safety features as well as adaptive cruise control, ProPilot Assist with Navi-link, a 12.3-inch display for the driver, capacitive door handles, dual-zone climate control, electric parking brake, wireless connectivity, and a leather wrapped steering wheel — let’s get one thing out of the way.

Elon Musk has been begging other manufacturers to offer compelling electric cars for more than 10 years now. Nissan has sold hundreds of thousands of battery electric vehicles worldwide, including the e-NV200 van that is essentially a LEAF with a cargo body, and should have all the tools to make a world class electric SUV.

The Ariya is not a compelling electric car. It has too little range for the size of its battery. Compared to a Tesla Model Y, which has 326 miles of range, the dual motor version of the Ariya can only muster a paltry 265 miles before it needs charging. That’s not competitive, that’s embarrassing. Also, a maximum charging power of 130 kW and a wimpy 7 kW onboard charger only add to the embarrassment. It’s not like Nissan is giving these cars away at bargain basement prices.

This car gets a C- from the CleanTechnica staff. We could easily have been talked into giving it a D except for the fact that it comes quite well equipped even in its most basic configuration. We predict Nissan dealers will be beating the bushes looking for customers when these cars finally arrive in showrooms in about a year.

There is good news, however. Nissan will emblazon the correct model designation on the exterior of each car so those walking past it in the parking lot at Walmart will know in an instant how much you paid for your car.

But Wait, There’s More!

The Evolve + adds a power-operated panoramic moon roof, power tailgate, LED fog lights, wireless charging for your phone, motor-operated glove box door, and underfloor trunk storage. Premiere adds the upgraded ProPilot 2.0, self-parking, illuminated kick plates, and unique 19-inch wheels with aero covers.

Go for that range-topping Platinum+ 4ORCE with all-wheel drive and enjoy active sound (whatever that is), Napa leather in the interior (at a time when most manufacturers are transitioning to vegan leather), power steering column adjustment, a Bose Premium Audio system with 10 speakers, and the ability to pay extra for special 20-inch wheels.

Color us underwhelmed.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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