The Nissan Ariya electric SUV has started rolling out across markets such as Europe, the US and Japan, but Australia still has no firm launch date.
But that’s not to say the local arm isn’t eager to get it here.
Speaking with CarExpert at the media launch for the new-generation Qashqai, Nissan Australia’s managing director, Adam Paterson, basically said the Ariya is more of a ‘when’ not ‘if’ proposition for our market, and noted the local division is well aware there’s demand for such a vehicle here.
“Timing itself is difficult for a couple of reasons; first we know the Ariya will do very well in the Australian market when it does arrive and when we can get it here,” Mr Paterson said.
“You may have seen that Nissan took pre-orders or reservations in some markets globally, and then had to turn them off because demand was so strong, and the decision was made in those markets that they didn’t want to disappoint customers if delivery times were too long.
“The company has had to prioritise specific markets based on the regulatory requirements of those markets. As some markets are moving with CO2 strategies a lot more rapidly than we are here, that’s where the decision has been made as far as sending it,” Mr Paterson continued.
“But literally the challenges of the regulatory environment is so rapidly evolving globally, that some markets may go from no requirement to a requirement of 1000, 2000, 5000 or 10,000 [units]; whatever that may require… and we’ve had to continue to shift production availabilities based on that.
“So to be able to say that it is absolutely available on this date is tough because, again, global requirements in other markets are evolving,” Mr Paterson added.
The Nissan Ariya was revealed in production-ready guise in July 2020, meaning the car will be three or four years old by the time it hits Australian roads – though it only started hitting global markets earlier this year or thereabouts.
Despite being a pioneer of electric vehicles (EVs) with its Leaf hatchback, the Japanese brand’s Australian arm has been unable to secure a local allocation and launch date. As Mr Paterson noted, our market’s lack of CO2 regulations and efficiency standards push us further down the queue – a story we’ve heard time and time again from various OEMs.
Globally, the Ariya is available with single-motor FWD and dual-motor e-4ORCE AWD drivetrains, as well as a choice of two battery pack options; with respective usable capacities of 63kWh and 87kWh.
Motor outputs for FWD models with the smaller-capacity battery are 160kW and 300Nm, while with the larger-capacity battery the Ariya single motor develops 178kW/300Nm. The twin-motor AWD system features a combined output of 250kW/560Nm (65kWh) or 290kW/600Nm (90kWh), with the latter offering a claimed 5.1-second 0-100km/h time.
In the UK, the entry-level Ariya 63kWh (usable) is priced a smidgen under the starting price of the most expensive X-Trail e-Power e-4ORCE – in Australia, the X-Trail Ti-L e-Power with e-4ORCE is close to the top-spec in the UK, and will be priced from $57,190 plus on-road costs when it arrives early in the new year.
At the upper end of the range, the high-spec Ariya e-4ORCE 87kWh Evolve specification is priced in the same realm as an entry-level Volkswagen Touareg, which in Australia starts from $87,990 plus on-road costs.
With those overseas price brackets in mind, you could forecast a price range of $60,000-$90,000 should Australia offer a similar line-up of variants. However, lower volume and potential supply constraints could potentially see Nissan focus on higher grades with the bigger battery.
Key rivals for the Nissan Ariya in Australia would include the likes of the Tesla Model Y, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, as well as a slew of other upcoming models like the Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq twins, in addition to the Ford Mustang Mach-E.
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