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This new video from Nissan explains what inspired the Ariya concept design.

“It started with our vision of how to shape the future. I wanted to merge form with the unique experience of an EV, and the autonomous and connected technology that Nissan Intelligent Mobility represents." - Giovanny Arroba, Program Design Director."

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Autocar spoke with Arroba as well about the Ariya's design.

It's refreshing hearing a desinger talk about how evering is "tangible" on a concept car rather than designing something that clearly won't be built.

The Nissan Ariya concept previews the long-mooted ‘Leaf SUV’, which is expected to arrive by 2022. Revealed at the Tokyo motor show late last year, the Ariya was described by chief designer Giovanny Arroba as a “realistic vision of our future”. He added: “It’s not a blue-sky concept car, so everything there is tangible to bring to the market in the hopefully near future.”

Explaining that Nissan had pioneered the crossover segment, first with the Qashqai and then with the Juke, Arroba said: “We’ve always been on the cutting edge of introducing new segments. In this case, we wanted to have an electric crossover which is beautiful, functional and realistic for now.”

We discussed some highlights of the Ariya with Arroba below.

Brand name on tailgate, rather than logo

Nissan has followed its rivals by spelling its brand name across the tailgate rather than using its logo. The word is integrated into the horizontal light blade, which Arroba described as “very simple yet very iconic”. Expect to see it on a Nissan production car soon.

Interior rejig

The Ariya’s roomy interior is thanks to Nissan’s new EVP platform; for example, it has allowed the air-con unit to be moved from in the centre console to under the bonnet. It’s a dramatic step up from the Leaf, but Arroba said none of it is unattainable for production. While there’s a glass panel that leads from the digital instruments to the touchscreen, switches and haptic touch-sensitive icons remain.“Everything we have done is for approachability,” said Arroba.

Futuristic front end

The Ariya represents a new design direction for Nissan overall. Arroba explained: “The front is a vision of our brand identity electrified. We have super-thin LED projector headlamps and there’s no traditional grille; instead, we have a shield that packages radar and cameras. We want to represent electric as beautiful. We don’t want to, through certain shapes or form, say ‘hey look!’. It’s not meant to walk into a room blaring to be different.”

21in wheels

Arroba admits that the 21in wheels are there for design purposes so are unlikely to make production. “We wanted to have a strong proportion and stance,” he said. However, the aerodynamic design could well make it to the final model. The five-spoke wheels have milled-and-machined lightweight alloys beneath and aerodynamic blades shielding the wheels and bolts to allow air to pass by without too much disruption.

Side mirrors, not cameras

One might expect to see rear-view cameras in place of side mirrors here, as is becoming common on the latest EVs, such as the Audi E-tron and Honda E. However, Arroba remains unconvinced. “We wanted to showcase a tangible reality that’s coming upon us quickly,” he said. “We didn’t want to showcase technology which isn’t fully regulated in all regions. I’ve experienced cars with camera mirrors and the usability isn’t as seamless as with a mirror.”
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