Secondly, the difficult bit has already been done. Had Ariel produced a low slung slice of carbon bodywork and merely talked about the tech it hoped it might one day contain, that would trigger every warning bell in my head. The history of low volume car manufacturing is full of such ambitious projects that never turned into viable production machines. In fact, Ariel has done it completely the other way around: next month it will show two rolling chassis, complete with electric motors, water-cooled lithium ion battery packs, inverters, bespoke unequal length wishbone suspension and the bonded aluminium monocoque to which it will all attach. It is the bodywork that will come later.
We don’t know what the Hipercar will weigh nor how much it will cost, though I’ve seen a mass of 1,600kg and a price of around £200,000 mooted elsewhere which, if true, seems like pretty good value given it will have acceleration to make a Bugatti Chiron costing ten times as much wonder which way it went. What we do know is that there will be two versions, a more affordable rear drive car with two electric motors generating a trifling 590bhp, and the full-fat all-wheel drive car with four motors and the quoted 1180bhp. Each motor will drive just one wheel, providing limitless opportunities to vary the torque supplied to each to optimise traction and torque vectoring on the way into and out of corners. Each Hipercar will also come equipped with a tiny 47bhp turbine that will generate electricity to get you home should battery power become depleted. We know also that the car will be on sale three short years from now.
For myself, I am not yet convinced that all-electric sports and supercars will make an entirely satisfactory replacement for those we enjoy today, not least because they will be both heavy and effectively silent. But if we have no choice in the matter, if the cars we love to drive today are to be legislated out of existence, I am proud that a company like Ariel, working with British firms Equipmake (electric motors) and Delta Motorsport (range extender turbine) and backed by a £2 million grant from the Government is pioneering this technology. Because it is small companies like this with the ability to not only make decisions quickly but implement them as well that will prepare the ground for larger institutions to follow, who will, in turn, create the environmentally blameless cars that benefit the many, and not just the few.