Ariel Atom could go hybrid, electric

Ariel Atom could go hybrid, electric

England-based Ariel has announced that future generations of the track-focused Atom could use hybrid and electric drivetrains borrowed from the Honda parts bin.

The company has looked into fitting the Atom with Honda’s hybrid technology before, but in the past the drivetrains — like the ones that powered the Insight and the CR-Z — weren’t very well suited to high-performance applications. However, that changed with the introduction of the long-awaited Acura NSX, which is sold as a Honda outside of the United States.

And while Honda’s hybrid technology is still prohibitively expensive for Ariel, company boss Simon Saunders expects that it will become markedly more affordable as it trickles down to smaller models. “At that point, it becomes achievable for us to use in the Atom,” he added.

An electric model is possible in the long-term, too. Ariel expects that the Atom will move with the times, and it will continue to comply with emissions regulations all around the globe. A variant of the Atom that complies with the Euro 6 emissions norms is currently under development.

Saunders revealed that his company won’t limit itself to building high-performance, driver-focused models like the Atom (pictured) and the Nomad off-roader.

“Our interest was always to make a spread of low-volume vehicles that could encompass all things, including a high-volume model, limited-edition models and anything up to a chauffeur-driven limousine,” he said in an interview with Autocar magazine. “I can’t go into any details right now, but some of the other stuff we’re looking at is quite different from what we’re doing right now.”

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