electric cars, nissan, nissan ariya

By River, Davis, Tokyo.

When it comes to Nissan’s Ariya, the first thing I have to point out is just how much anticipation has been built around this model.

From the day of its unveiling in 2020, auto analysts have highlighted the Ariya as key to Nissan’s long-term performance as it sets out to launch 15 new electric vehicles by fiscal 2030.

Suspense around the sport utility vehicle has been stoked even further over the past year due to a series of delays.

The Ariya was originally intended to go on sale in mid-2021.

Now, different grades of the vehicle are set for a staggered rollout this year, underscoring the difficulty of churning out high-tech new models amid the industry’s long-standing shortage of semiconductors and other key auto parts.

That late start has put some pressure on the Ariya, because in the months it’s taken Nissan to sort through production issues, the electric SUV segment has become increasingly crowded.

And, as a line in a recent Ariya review I spotted reads, “being late to the party only works if you walk in with some top-shelf tequila.”

Ryuichi Yaguchi, an engineer who worked on developing the Ariya, admitted at the test-drive event earlier this month that he has felt some of that heat.

But amid rising competition, what Yaguchi says really stands out about the Ariya is its smooth and quiet driving — something he dubs “shinkansen feel,” a reference to Japan’s renowned silent and steady bullet trains.

I definitely experienced this test driving the Ariya a few weeks back.

While I knew I was speeding up when my foot was on the pedal, when my colleague took a round behind the wheel, the car’s lack of vibration and constant momentum building meant that as a passenger, I could hardly tell we were accelerating unless I was looking out the window.

electric cars, nissan, nissan ariya

Inside, the Ariya also felt very zen. The interior is open and modern with buttons built into the polished timber paneling and Japanese design elements like “kumiko” — woodworking patterns scattered throughout.

It’s also pretty high-tech, equipped with Nissan’s latest driver-assistance systems and a responsive voice assistant that wakes up when you say “Hey, Nissan.”

The other interesting backstory to the Ariya — and the source of much of the expectation around the model — is that its maker, Nissan, was actually the first automaker to launch a mass-market EV.

That was more than a decade ago with its electric hatchback, the Leaf.

Playing off the tequila analogy, the situation is really more like Nissan arrived early at the EV party and was stuck sitting there for some years until Tesla came crashing in.

For Nissan, the Ariya is a way to show off advantages it associates with being a first-mover in the EV space.

Though the Ariya’s price, size and range place it in a similar category to models such as Ford’s Mustang Mach-E, Nissan says the data it’s gathered from over a decade of Leaf sales have helped it understand how people drive EVs and what issues they face with the new technology.

One example Yaguchi gives is how Nissan has evolved the Ariya’s thermal battery management systems.

A cause of frustration in the past was the fact that charges don’t hold well when batteries get too hot, Yaguchi said.

For the Ariya, Nissan has developed a system that uses water to heat and cool battery temperature, he said.

As the Ariya begins its broad launch later this year, we’ll see whether the Japanese automaker’s long-standing experience with EVs ultimately translates into a vehicle that is, in consumers’ eyes, top-shelf enough to warrant the wait.

TECH NEWS RELATED

Maserati looks to the heavens with new convertible

Maserati MC20 Cielo. MASERATI Maserati has unveiled its MC20 Cielo, the retractable hardtop version of the Italian company's MC20 supercar. The letter MC signifies Maserati Corse, while the number 20 represents 2020, which refers to a new era for the brand. The model name, Cielo, is the Italian word ...

View more: Maserati looks to the heavens with new convertible

Rhys Christou's Pro Street XR Falcon

Every long-term Street Machine reader would remember the hugely successful Real Men Smoke Eagers ad campaign, starring Mr Double Fist himself, Chris Christou and his tyre-demolishing Electric Blue Phase III GTHO. Well they say the apple never falls far from the tree – this gorgeous XR Falcon belongs to Chris’s ...

View more: Rhys Christou's Pro Street XR Falcon

Why Wellington, Auckland congestion woes will continue for years

Photo / Supplied The steady return of workers to the office has seen commuters return to sitting in their cars for hours on end each day. Speaking to the Front Page podcast, Wellington-based senior reporter Georgina Campbell says that for many this is simply a necessity. “They don’t have real alternatives to ...

View more: Why Wellington, Auckland congestion woes will continue for years

DRIVEN reveals the average tank of petrol costs Kiwis upwards of $165

Photo / Supplied Petrol prices are skyrocketing across the country, and even with the Government’s 25c per litre excise tax cut, Kiwis are feeling pain at the pump.  Last week, DRIVEN released a list of some of the cheapest petrol stations in Aotearoa. It revealed that the average 60-litre ...

View more: DRIVEN reveals the average tank of petrol costs Kiwis upwards of $165

Skillman Captures Third Win, Points Lead Factory Stock Showdown

NORWALK, Ohio  – Bill Skillman and his Ray Skillman Ford Cobra raced to their third victory of the season, took back the points lead and claimed the $1,000 bounty Sunday at Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsport Park, the fifth stop on the Constant Aviation Factory Stock ...

View more: Skillman Captures Third Win, Points Lead Factory Stock Showdown

Is the Kia Niro a Hybrid or EV?

The Kia Niro is a popular option in America, especially for folks looking for an eco-friendly car. However, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding this compact SUV from Kia. Some folks don’t know if the Niro is a regular hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, or an EV. Here’s a look at the Kia Niro and how ...

View more: Is the Kia Niro a Hybrid or EV?

The 2022 Honda Pilot vs the 2022 Subaru Ascent: 1 Is Clearly Safer

The 2022 Honda Pilot vs the 2022 Subaru Ascent decision may be tough in many regards. After all, they’re similarly sized SUVs with three-rows that make attractive options for families. They both also offer a sensible and stylish exterior, which may make it difficult to decide between them. So which ...

View more: The 2022 Honda Pilot vs the 2022 Subaru Ascent: 1 Is Clearly Safer

Watch an electric “fan car” beat every car ever at Goodwood Hill Climb

A fully electric car has beaten every car ever at the Goodwood Hillclimb track at the Festival of Speed, an annual gathering and demonstration of racing vehicles in England. The McMurtry Speirling fan car driven by Indycar and ex-F1 driver Max Chilton set a record of 39.08 seconds on ...

View more: Watch an electric “fan car” beat every car ever at Goodwood Hill Climb

Robin Shute Wins 100th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

McMurtry Spéirling fan car claims Goodwood FoS hillclimb record

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 PHEV launches off at Goodwood

Watch: McMurtry EV smashes outright record at Goodwood

Toyota appeals class-action ruling

Report: Tesla Is Delaying Made-In-Germany Model Y Deliveries

Volkswagen ID.5 GTX Beats ID.4 GTX In Bjørn Nyland's Range Test

Wayne Taylor Racing, Acura Win the Six Hours of Watkins Glen

Goodwood Festival of Speed 2022, gallery part 2

‘World’s most beautiful e-motorcycle’: FTN Motion second release e-motorbikes flying out the door

What’s different about the Nissan Juke’s hybrid motor?

6 Honda Accord Model Years Are Not Recommended by Consumer Reports

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News