Single Seater Purpose: The Nissan Ariya Single Seater Concept

It seems that Nissan really wants to push the upcoming 2023 Ariya as having some latent performance potential. As such, the Yokohama-based manufacturer unveiled the Ariya Single Seater Concept. It’s also potentially a hint as to what we should expect from Nissan’s upcoming Formula E Gen3 car.

A Future Performance Avenue for Nissan EVs

While the Ariya was officially unveiled for the U.S. just before the L.A. Auto Show, the Ariya Single Seater Concept was revealed during the Nissan Futures event as another potential application of the Ariya’s powertrain. That same event also showed the direction Nissan expected to head in as an EV manufacturer, displaying several concept vehicle renderings.

“As we began to shape our Nissan Ambition 2030 long-term vision, we continued to build on our Timeless Japanese Futurism design language,” said Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan senior vice president for global design, “We are now drawing inspiration from the Japanese words shun, meaning to run fast and effortlessly, and sho, meaning to soar with power and grace. The Ariya Single Seater Concept is the perfect expression of this new language. Leveraging the Ariya’s EV powertrain in a motorsports-inspired package allowed our international team to capture this new sense of speed, technology and artistry.”

What It Shares With the Ariya

The Single Seater is a mix of Ariya design cues and Nissan’s Formula E car all mixed into a high-performance package. The nose of the Single Seater features an illuminated “V” made into the front nose and wings, while the sides are inspired by the “fluid and efficient surfaces” of the Ariya, just in carbon fiber and the addition of rear wheel body covers. Obviously, they don’t expect to change tires, much like their Formula E car doesn’t. It also features similar looking aerodynamic wheels as the production Ariya SUV, but with racing slicks. According to Nissan, both the Single Seater and Ariya both look like they were “shaped by the air itself.” It’s also powered by the same front and rear motors as the production SUV.

A Potential Real Race Car?

Nissan did hint that this concept could be used as a “bespoke single seater racing car chassis.” It wouldn’t be the first single make series for Nissan and NISMO, considering the Nissan Micra Cup, but it would be the first single seater series for Nissan with full manufacturer support. For the World Series by Nissan, the company only provided engines, first with the SR20DE I-4 then the VQ30DE V-6 and ultimately the VQ35DE V-6 before switching over to a Zytek 3.4 liter V-8 in 2012. It would make for an interesting single seater race car, considering it would be AWD. It also makes us wonder if it would forgo the rear brakes just like the upcoming FIA Formula E Gen3 car will.

“Nissan competes in Formula E not only to race on track, but also to support the development of compelling electric vehicles for customers,” said Tommaso Volpe, Nissan global motorsports director. He went on to explain that both the EV and Formula E programs work with each other for technology transfer between the racing and road going vehicles. Volpe also said, “The Nissan Ariya Single Seater Concept explores the combination of the all-electric powertrain, dual motors and revolutionary all-wheel drive system of the Ariya with a pure single seat racing chassis—a powerful demonstration of just how thrilling electric vehicles could be.”

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