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Ariel Hipercar: Ultra-high performance electric sports car

Ultra-high performance electric sports car heralded as a major success story for UK clean automotive innovation.

A ground-breaking electric supercar designed and manufactured in the UK, made its global show debut at 2022’s Cenex LCV on the UK Government Pavilion. Ariel’s HIPERCAR is a state-of-the-art high-performance electric vehicle designed in partnership with a consortium of innovative UK SMEs. The car demonstrates the clean-tech possibilities of UK businesses and was made possible thanks to UK government investment channelled through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

The unveiling marked the latest phase of the project, following on from the completion of the initial proof of concept for HIPERCAR in 2017.  The project is a great demonstration of how the UK innovation ecosystem can bring funding, insight, and expertise together from multiple project partners to achieve outstanding results. A £6 million investment from competition together with match funding from the project consortium has brought the Ariel HIPERCAR to life.

Many of the project partners have gone on to achieve impressive commercial success on the strength of technologies developed throughout the project, with notable examples being Delta Motorsport (which built the battery pack, thermal management and power electroncis for the Hipercar, and were since acquired by Cosworth Group as a result) and Equipmake, which has raised £10 million in its recent Aquis stock exchange growth market floatation. GKN Automotive built a bespoke testbed to accommodate the power of the motor, and this facility is now in demand from customers around the world.

The project also provides a strong case study for the value of government-led investment in boosting the economy, developing IP and securing highly skilled jobs in the UK. 

The design of the vehicle is based on pioneering EV technology developed by UK manufacturers. Available in both two- and four-wheel drive, it is has a lightweight aluminium bonded chassis structure and full carbon fibre body. Built for exceptional lightness (the two-wheel drive version of the car weighs in at below 1,400 kg), the HIPERCAR offers staggering performance, reaching speeds of 100 mph within a mere 4.4 seconds.

The HIPERCAR project consortium overcame several technological hurdles during the prototype stage, which manifested in new and exciting innovations. Among them, is an alloy motor featuring a revolutionary radial rotor architecture resulting in substantial power density improvements while cutting magnetic material usage by 25% to support weight reductions reducing the amount of rare earth materials needed. A unique and patented liquid-cooled battery system from Cosworth, was developed in response to the specific thermal management requirements of the vehicle. A ground-breaking split charging system capable of charging high voltage (800V) vehicles using more commonly available non-native 400V charging infrastructure offers yet another highlight from the project, underlining how initiatives such as the HIPERCAR can help accelerate innovation throughout the supply chain.

Ariel Hipercar
Ariel Hipercar

Road to Net Zero Podcast

Our Road to Net Zero podcast is all about how the UK automotive industry is transitioning to net zero. In a series of interviews, we highlight key issues and developments, interesting projects and technologies emerging from one of the UK’s most innovative sectors on the road to net zero.