Ariel may use Honda hybrid tech for future Atoms


Ariel Atom 3.5R

Ariel Atom 3.5R

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The track-oriented Ariel Atom may be getting an electric boost in the future, according to the company's leader, Simon Saunders.

Speaking with Britain's Autocar, Saunders indicated that he is eager for the electric motor technology that debuted in the new 2017 Acura NSX to make its way down to more affordable models. 

"At that point, it becomes achievable for us to use in the Atom," Saunders said. Honda's previous hybrid technology has been more about reduced emissions than about improving performance, so it was not a good match until the 573-horsepower, all-wheel drive NSX hit the market. 

Although Saunders said that Ariel's goal will be to have a more powerful Atom, the company is hoping to meet EU6 emissions standards in the future. A hybrid powertrain could help achieve both of those goals.

What's unclear is just how much of Honda's technology would interest Ariel. While the NSX is undoubtedly a tour de force, it weighs in at over 3,800 pounds in street spec (weight for the new GT3 race car has not yet been revealed). An Ariel Atom tips the scales at less than a third of that, so don't look for the NSX's V-6 and trio of electric motors (two of which supply power to the front wheels) to migrate down to the track-oriented model.

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