By Steve & Tamami Laser
The long-awaited premiere of the Ariya, Nissan’s new all-electric crossover, was held at Nissan Pavilion Yokohama in Minatomirai, a new brand experience center near the automaker’s global headquarters in Japan.
Scheduled to open to the public next month, the Nissan Pavilion offers the chance to experience the future through vehicles, shows, games and even foods at the Nissan Chaya Café. And Nissan says that visitors will be among the first anywhere to experience rides in the new Ariya.
Nissan revealed the Ariya during an online digital world premiere at the Nissan Pavilion hosted by Miho Noguchi, a multilingual emcee, event host, interpreter and voice talent. Miho is shown above, with John Schnoes (left), Alliance Global Director, Connected Car Services & Engineering, and Tetsuo Sasaki, Vice President, Connected Car and Services Engineering Division.
“Welcome to the Nissan Pavilion! Hello everyone, I’m your host, Miho Noguchi. You’re now watching the live digital world premiere of the all-new Nissan Ariya, the first all-electric crossover from Nissan. I hope you are as excited as I am to see this amazing new car that we are introducing to the world today,” said Miho.
Nissan says that the new Ariya presents a sleek, seamless design inspired by “Timeless Japanese Futurism,” providing passengers with a welcome, personal impression that aims to surpass expectations.
Ariya combines Nissan’s advanced electric vehicle technology with a new level of seamless human-machine interface connectivity, designed to deliver what the automaker describes as an entirely new driving experience.
Ariya looks remarkably similar to the concept vehicle that Nissan introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show last fall. Nissan says that the all-electric production version will offer powerful acceleration, smooth, quiet operation, plus an interior with a lounge-like environment.
“We created the Nissan Ariya as an answer to the aspirations and practical needs of today’s customers,” said Makoto Uchida, Nissan CEO (above). “Combining our strengths in EVs and crossovers, it’s a showcase for Nissan’s new era of excitement and design.”
Nissan’s first mass-market EV, the Leaf, introduced in 2010, has achieved sales topping half a million units. Ariya retail sales are planned to start in Japan in mid-2021, with the U.S., and additional global markets, expected to follow later in the year.
“The Ariya, a key model in Nissan’s plan to roll out 10 new models in 20 months, demonstrates our commitment to meeting customer demand for crossovers with the most advanced electrified, automated and connected technologies,” said Ashwani Gupta, Nissan COO (above). “The company expects sales of its EVs and e-POWER electrified models to be more than 1 million units a year by the end of fiscal 2023. The Ariya will play a significant role in attaining that goal.”
Embracing the Japanese term “iki”, characterizes Ariya’s cutting-edge nature. The front view features a shield (a grille reimagined for EVs) with a 3-D interpretation of a traditional Japanese “kumiko” pattern. Positioned in the center is Nissan’s new logo, illuminated with 20 LEDs. Thin LED headlights, with four 20mm mini-projectors per side, are combined with sequential turn signals stylized to mimic Nissan’s V-motion design.
Ariya’s design team was led by Alfonso Albaisa (above), Vice President of Global Design. “We wanted to ensure that the soul of the vehicle reflects our distinctive DNA, conveyed in a simple, yet powerfully modern manner,” he said. “We dubbed this ‘Timeless Japanese Futurism’ and tapped into key Japanese words to inspire our global design team to produce the Ariya’s ultra-sleek, seamless, sharp and powerful form.”
“Iki” is a bold, diverse expression that goes against common approach. “With the Ariya, iki can be felt in the vehicle’s strong exterior presence and impressive beauty,” said Satoru Tai (above), Executive Design Director. “For example, the sharp section of the front fascia and the accents that run along the shoulder in a single line unify the design in a concise manner. Inside the car, the climate controls have a ‘disappearing’ design that makes them nearly invisible on the smooth instrument panel surface when not in use.”
“The Ariya’s exterior proportions show what’s possible with Nissan’s 100 percent electric-vehicle platform,” said Giovanny Arroba (above), Senior Design Director. “The surprisingly short overhangs, aggressive roofline and large wheels provide an elegant appearance that flawlessly balances sport and luxury.”
Ariya’s ProPILOT Assist 2.0 uses driver attention monitoring, along with seven cameras, five millimeter-wave radars, and 12 ultrasonic sensors to enable “hands-off single lane highway operation” under certain conditions in Japan. ProPILOT Remote Park is a new feature offered on the Japan market Ariya.
Ariya rides on an all-new, Alliance-developed EV platform. The initial lineup offers two-wheel-drive and new e-4ORCE all-wheel drive systems, plus two different battery sizes. The base Ariya 2WD, targeting urban commuters and first-time EV owners, has 63 kWH of usable battery capacity. A larger 87 kWh battery is available to provide additional range.
“The Ariya’s Intelligent Power is one of the pillars that define Nissan’s DNA,” said Makoto Fukuda (above), Development Chief Product Specialist of the Ariya. “There is often talk about EVs and their 0-to-100-kph time, but actually it’s easy for EVs to achieve good acceleration times. The Ariya is also fast in a straight line, but it provides maximum, usable performance in a wide range of driving conditions such as on a snowy mountain road or on wet city streets.”
With twin electric motors, Nissan says Ariya e-4ORCE delivers balanced, predictable power to all four wheels. When equipped with e-4ORCE and the 87 kWh battery, Ariya is said to offer the highest level of Nissan Intelligent Mobility available.
The e-4ORCE system is the latest chapter in the automaker’s history in developing all-terrain vehicles and sports cars. It’s called the “spiritual offspring” of the Nissan GT-R’s ATTESA E-TS torque-split system and the Nissan Patrol’s intelligent 4×4 system. Nissan says that when cornering on snow-covered roads, for example, Ariya can faithfully trace the driver’s intended line thanks to ultra-high-precision motor and brake control.
Ariya has three drive modes: Standard, Sport and Eco, plus a fourth Snow mode with e-4ORCE models, allowing drivers to customize vehicle response to match their needs. Ariya also includes Nissan e-Pedal, that lets the driver launch, accelerate and decelerate using just the accelerator. And with e-4ORCE models, regenerative torque is distributed to both the front and rear wheels.
Nissan says Ariya’s cabin is like a “sleek café lounge on a starship,” evoking performance and intrigue. Compact powertrain components, along with slim-profile Zero Gravity seats, provide Ariya with a spacious interior. The driver can slide the front center console, including a new shifter and haptic drive mode controls, to the most comfortable position, and have it memorized for future trips via driver’s profile settings.
The futuristic look continues with a 12.3-inch instrument panel, plus a separate 12.3-inch center display, oriented in a wave-like shape along a single horizon for ease of use. This design allows the driver to swipe between the displays to customize and prioritize information for an “unparalleled bespoke experience.” A separate heads-up display is also available.
“Nissan’s intelligent personal assistance technology is an expression of omotenashi – the Japanese custom of respecting the customer to the highest degree,” said Fukuda. “It provides a seamless experience, both off- and on-board. The Ariya supports your lifestyle whether from home or on the go.”
As John Schnoes demonstrated, saying “Hello Nissan,” or “Hey Nissan,” Ariya’s driver or passengers can ask for vehicle information, manage the travel route, and search for points of interest verbally. In-vehicle commands are performed by a hybrid voice recognition system. Nissan says that Ariya will become its first model with Remote Software Upgrade, for firmware updates over the air.
Drivers can check the status of the Ariya’s battery from the “comfort of the breakfast table.” With a scheduled destination, the Intelligent Route Planner will send a reminder when it’s time to depart. Under way, the system monitors road conditions and suggests alternative routes to reduce travel times. Using the NissanConnect smartphone app, the driver can set Ariya’s climate controls to pre-heat or pre-cool the cabin before entering the vehicle.
Nissan’s 360-degree safety features for Ariya, with Nissan Safety Shield, include Intelligent Around View Monitor, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Emergency Braking, and Rear Automatic Emergency Braking technology.
Nissan says the Japanese-market version of Ariya has an estimated range of up to 610 kilometers (based on Japan WLTC cycle; subject to homologation). Several different charging options are expected to be available.
The U.S. model Ariya has a preliminary range of approximately 300 miles per charge, based on Nissan’s estimate for the long-range 2WD model.
Going Behind The Scenes
Putting together a broadcast the likes of the Ariya’s digital world premiere is not an easy task. Let’s take a quick look behind the scenes in these photos courtesy of Nissan:
Miho Noguchi gives a double “thumbs up” while performing the Ariya’s bilingual video introduction at the Nissan Pavilion.
The immense size of the set made it look like Hollywood had come to Yokohama. Miho, Alfonso Albaisa and Giovanny Arroba are shown above setting up a shot in front of the Ariya.
Hiroki Isobe (above left), Alliance EV Segment Chief Vehicle Engineer, gets a microphone check by a technician while preparing to step in front of the camera.
Nissan brought at least five prototypes of the new Ariya to the set. Miho points to Nissan’s new high-tech logo that was also introduced in Yokohama.
Setting up gear to film inside a vehicle takes patience. Getting the lighting just right is a job for skilled technicians.
Cast and crew members gather for a meeting during a break in the pre-production schedule at Yokohama.
Miho and John Schnoes smile for a photo while setting up a scene inside an Ariya to show its high-tech connectivity features.
We really enjoyed watching the Nissan Ariya digital world premiere.
Note: Pre-production vehicles shown. Preliminary features, specifications, MSRPs and launch timing may vary by market and are subject to change without notice
News sources and photos courtesy of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Nissan International SA, and Nissan North America, Inc.
Story (commentary) © 2020 CarNichiWa.com