- May 21, 2009
REPORT: Ariel planning all-new alt-powered vehicle
Ariel Atom - Click above for a high-res image gallery
Ariel, our favorite purveyors of minimalist motoring this side of a Se7en, are reportedly working on an all-new vehicle that won't be powered by a standard engine and would "break new ground in the same way that the Atom first did."
According to Ariel's head Simon Saunders, the new model will be a significant departure from the Atom, nixing the exposed tube-frame chassis and mid-ship powerplant. Those decisions have allowed Ariel to look at new drivetrains – including fuel cells and electric motors – but Saunders insists that the company's core philosophy of light weight and spine-crushing acceleration won't be compromised. Additionally, Ariel has no intention of competing with the world's largest automakers. Speaking with PistonHeads, Saunders said, "We don't want to take on the established manufacturers. We will use our knowledge from building the Atom to produce a car for a totally new segment."
Although plans for an all-new model packing a 12-liter engine producing between 600 and 800 hp have been shelved, Ariel is currently working on another Atom variant equipped with a 500 hp, 2.4-liter V8 aimed to compete with the Caterham R500. And if that wasn't enough, Ariel is also contemplating a return to its roots with production of a new motorcycle.