British firm Ariel has unveiled what it believes will be the fastest-accelerating and most advanced supercar in history, a 1200bhp, four-wheel-drive electric two-seater with a revolutionary turbine range extender powertrain.
The vehicle, codenamed the P40, will be capable of 0-100mph in just 3.8sec, and is scheduled for production in 2020. The car, first reported by Autocar last month, has been revealed a the Low Carbon Vehicles event in Millbrook, Bedfordshire.
The chassis and powertrain of “tomorrow’s supercar today”, as Ariel puts it, is the result of a three-partner, three-year project supported by the government and will be revealed later this month at the Cenex Low-Carbon Vehicle (LCV) show at Millbrook Proving Ground.
Built on an aluminium monocoque chassis, the new Ariel is expected to weigh around 1600kg and to be clad with carbonfibre body panels, although the exterior shape is still in development.
The P40 is powered by four separate electric motors, each producing 295bhp. Each is fed from a centrally mounted, 42kWh liquid-cooled battery mounted at the car’s base.
As well as the 4x4 model, Ariel is proposing a slightly simpler, slightly slower two-wheel-drive model with a 56kWh battery, itself the subject of a separate, earlier government-backed programme called Amplifii.
For both models, the turbine range extender, which produces a maximum of 35kW, sits atop the two rear motors and can produce sufficient power to maintain a fast road performance once the initial 100-120 miles of electric range is exhausted. The partners say they’re not primarily aiming at track-day enthusiasts, but estimate the car will be good for around 15 minutes of flat-out track driving before needing around 50 minutes of fast-charging.
The flagship 4x4’s official maximum power runs to a staggering 1180bhp, with an eye-watering torque peak of 1328lb ft, all of it intelligently deployed by advanced electronic traction control and torque vectoring, and incorporating regenerative braking. Ariel forecasts the new supercar’s 0-60mph and 0-150mph acceleration times to be 2.4sec and 7.8sec respectively, but the firm is restricting the maximum speed to 160mph “because no-one needs to go faster”.