We have carmakers like the Ariel Motor Company to thank for an EV future looks like it won’t at all be boring. The British company has just unveiled a prototype of its Ariel Hipercar, an EV speed machine with over a thousand horsepower and a gas-turbine range-extender for good measure. It is yet another phase in the bespoke automaker’s journey that began back in 2017, when it first announced plans for a high-performance extended-range electric vehicle.

Ariel Motor Company is the brains behind the bonkers Ariel Atom road-legal track car and off-road Nomad. As insane as the Atom is, the Hipercar – that’s short for “High-Performance Carbon Reduction” – dials things up by several notches.

These are early days, but we already have some good information about the car. First off, there will be more than one variant — a two-motor rear-wheel-drive option will be complemented by a more potent range-topping variant with all-wheel-drive and four electric motors.

That top trim car is set up with two motors mounted on each axle. Each motor drives a wheel via a single-speed transmission, and the combined output is 1,180 hp and 1,342 lb-ft of torque. There is a 56-kWh lithium-ion battery to drive the motors, and the Hipercar has an estimated range of about 150 miles (240 km) on battery power alone. However, there’s a neat party trick in the form of a gas turbine extender that can recharge the battery, maintain charge levels, or augment battery power.

The Hipercar is a beast, performance-wise. The quad-motor variant will rocket to 60 mph (96 km/h) in less than 2.0 seconds, and hit 100 mph (160 km/h) about two seconds later. Those numbers automatically pitch the Hipercar against top-of-segment rivals like the Rimac Nevera.

ariel tries its hand at evs with 1,180-hp hipercar prototype

2023 Ariel Hipercar Photo by Ariel Motor Company

ariel tries its hand at evs with 1,180-hp hipercar prototype

2023 Ariel Hipercar Photo by Ariel Motor Company

ariel tries its hand at evs with 1,180-hp hipercar prototype

2023 Ariel Hipercar Photo by Ariel Motor Company

ariel tries its hand at evs with 1,180-hp hipercar prototype

2023 Ariel Hipercar Photo by Ariel Motor Company

All that performance is packaged within a body frame that, frankly, has us scratching our heads in bemusement. We’d like to think that design is solely inspired by aerodynamics, with aesthetics taking a back seat. That’s the only logical explanation for why the Ariel Hipercar conjures up images of two different cars mashed together, lengthwise.

It’s still a prototype, though, and there’s a chance the production version, slated for some time in 2024, will look more appealing. We will reserve our final thoughts until then.

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