Speaking exclusively to Autocar, Ariel boss Simon Saunders explained that his company is happy to follow the path of Honda, which is expected to adopt more hybrid technology into its range following the launch of the Honda NSX.
“The technology in the NSX is cutting-edge and expensive, but it will work its way down the food chain to the hot hatches,” he said. “At that point, it becomes achievable for us to use in the Atom.”
Saunders said Ariel had already considered integrating other Honda hybrid powertrains into the Atom but had concluded that none was powerful enough or appropriate for a sporting application. “Obviously, for Honda it’s more about emissions, but for us it’s mostly a performance thing.”
Saunders added that Ariel’s approach always revolves around getting maximum performance from its engines. Reduced emissions and improved fuel economy are positive effects but not the priority. “It is important to us, though. We’re looking at taking the Atom to EU6 now,” he said.
Looking further ahead, Saunders believes an all-electric Atom would make sense. “I think Atom will move with the times,” he said.
Saunders explained that Ariel’s brand image of creating high-performance sports cars wasn’t actually the company’s core objective.
“Our interest was always to make a spread of low-volume vehicles that could encompass all things, including a high-volume model, limited-edition models and anything up to a chauffeur-driven limousine,” he said. “I can’t go into any details right now, but some of the other stuff we’re looking at is quite different from what we’re doing right now.”