Honda’s development of hybrid technology has opened the door for the Atom to get its own hybrid powertrain

The future of the Ariel Atom is looking as intriguing as ever with reports that the track car could adopt hybrid technology in the wake of engine supplier Honda’s attempts to electrify its own range.

That bit of news comes directly from Ariel boss Simon Saunders who spoke to Autocar about the possibility of a future Atom variant that will utilize a hybrid powertrain. According to Saunders, Honda’s move to adopt the technology into its own range makes it possible for the Atom to get in on the fun. That said, Sunders also added that while the thought of a hybrid-powered Atom is intriguing in and of itself, Ariel isn’t prioritizing the benefits of reduced emissions and improved fuel economy like Honda is doing.

Instead, it wants to retain the Atom’s core value of performance and so far, the hybrid powertrains that Honda has at its disposal are not powerful enough to fit into the Atom’s sporting personality. Fortunately, Honda’s hybrid tech for the NSX appears to fit into what Ariel is looking for. And with Honda keen on using that tech on its other models, it gives Ariel an opportunity to integrate some – if not all – of that tech into the development of a hybrid Atom.

Saunders didn’t dive into too much specifics about these plans, but he did add that there’s a possibility that we might also see an all-electric Atom in the future. If that sounds like Ariel is trying to fit into the current climate of the auto industry, it’s because that’s exactly what the company is doing. It makes a lot of sense for Ariel to take this approach if it hopes to give fans of the Atom new versions to get excited over.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

The prospect of seeing a hybrid Ariel Atom, or even an all-electric version, is intriguing. At the very least, it should attract a new subset of fans who will be more open to trying out a version of the Atom that’s “friendlier” to the environment than its gas-powered counterparts. It would even be more interesting if the hybrid tech on the NSX is adopted for use on the Atom. That could open up a world of possibilities on what a hybrid version of the track car would be capable of.

Obviously, a gas engine would still be part of that equation. The question is would Ariel stick to the Atom’s standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine or opt for something a little smaller to accommodate the addition of the motors that will be used to complete the hybrid equation? Ariel boss Simon Saunders has made it clear that Ariel won’t compromise the Atom’s performance character in favor of being more efficient with a possible hybrid package.

All of this, of course, is still subject to confirmation from Honda and Ariel. It’s nice to imagine what the possibilities are, but first, let’s hear it from the decision-makers before getting excited. But hey, it’s not a crime to get excited about a hybrid Atom, is it? I for one am looking forward to see how Ariel maps out this potential new frontier for the Atom.

Ariel Atom 3S

2015 Ariel Atom 3S High Resolution Exterior
- image 572506

Read our full review on the Ariel Atom 3S here.

Source: AutoCar

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