That the upcoming hybrid electric-turbine Ariel ‘P40’ supercar will ‘only’ run flat-out for 15-20 minutes or so is no accident.
After that, its batteries will be sufficiently depleted that it operates in a ‘fast road’ kind of mode, mooching around on power supplied by its little 47bhp turbine engine only, until the batteries are replenished.
Ariel has investigated the kinds of use that sports cars get, see: fast road stuff and track days. It has calculated that you’ll be unlikely to ever exhaust its performance capability on the road – heck, it’s unlikely you’ll even use it all on the road. Fallback power of a 47bhp turbine might not sound much but, when given that running at a steady 70mph probably only uses 20-something of those horses, you get a lot in reserve most of the time.
And while you will exhaust the P40’s capability on a circuit, the chances are you’ll have exhausted yourself first: a sweaty track session, or a couple of laps of the Nürburgring, tend to be plenty in one dose. Strikes me that it’s an intelligent and bold move, and one really that only a company like Ariel can make, to admit that: sure, at some point, this car will lose its performance capability until you take a breather.