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Nissan shows Ariya EV, their upcoming Tesla Model Y competitor

Nissan has shown a closer-to-production version of their upcoming electric crossover based on the IMx concept earlier today at the Tokyo Motor Show.  The new vehicle is called the “Ariya”, and while Nissan is still calling it a “concept,” it seems to be one only in name, as the car is expected to reach production soon.

Today’s presentation focused more on design than specs, though the crossover is rumored to ship to the US in late 2021 at a “mainstream price point” and have 300 miles of range and a 0-60 time of under 5 seconds.  It’s expected to be similar in size to the Nissan Rogue.

Nissan also stated today that the Ariya will have a dual motor drive configuration, and that it will be compatible with their Nissan Energy vehicle-to-grid plans.

These specs would position the Ariya in the realm of the upcoming Tesla Model Y in terms of specs, though releasing about a year after Tesla’s planned crossover. It also appears to have a higher stance similar to a Jaguar I-Pace.

The Ariya may also have been inspired by Tesla’s minimalist interior design, because it has far fewer physical controls than most of Nissan’s stable.   The only physical controls are the start button, one knob to operate the car’s 12.3-inch display, and climate controls.  Other controls use haptic touch and are placed on the car’s instrument panel.

Nissan plans to update the Ariya’s software with over-the-air updates for the navigation system, user interface and driving characteristics.

Nissan’s ProPILOT 2.0 driver assist technology will be available on the Ariya.  The newest version of this technology “enables hands-off driving while cruising in a given lane.”

In the same press conference, Nissan showed their IMk concept, a Japan-only EV which fits the “kei car” small urban car aesthetic.  But that concept was unchanged from its previous unveiling.  You can watch the full (short) press conference below:

Electrek’s Take

Nissan has been involved in EVs since very early on, with the Nissan Leaf even beating the Tesla Model S to market by a few years.  In that time, the Nissan Leaf has sold more units than any other electric car model.

But since the original Leaf release, Nissan has stagnated in offering new models.  Other than a few concepts here and there, the only electric vehicle Nissan has offered is the e-NV200, which started shipping in Japan, Hong Kong and Europe but is not available in North America.

So it’s great to see Nissan getting closer to production on another EV for the US market finally.  The Leaf is a great package, particularly for the price, and has rightly done well in its segment as many directly competing vehicles just don’t seem as serious or well-thought-out.

The design of the Ariya, in my opinion, is quite stunning for a “crossover.”  It thankfully abandons a lot of the ridiculous design elements of the IMx concept it is based on, and results in a design which is aggressive yet still familiar.  I’d put it up against the I-Pace in attractiveness, honestly.

We don’t know what the final specs will look like or if the Ariya will ship looking the same as it did in today’s reveal, but nothing about it screams “this is only a concept car,” and instead everything we know about it seems fairly realistic.

If all this is true, we can’t wait to see it hit the road.  From what we know so far, and if they can manage a good price, it should be a solid entry into the market.  Of course, anything could change before production.

Let us know what you think of the Ariya in the comments below.  And enjoy a gallery of high-resolution images of the car here:

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Avatar for Jameson Dow Jameson Dow

Jameson has been driving electric vehicles since 2009, and has been writing about them and about clean energy for since 2016.

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