Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include U.S. range and price specifications.
TOKYO — Nissan's next electric vehicle, the long-awaited Ariya crossover, is a technological powerhouse with performance chops and a 379-mile range in Japan that the carmaker hopes will rekindle its reputation as a leader in battery-powered vehicles. Nissan North America says the U.S. range is estimated at 300 miles.
In showing the production version of its Tesla fighter in an unveiling online Wednesday, Nissan Motor Co. promises an EV that beats the brand's all-electric Leaf hatchback in almost every way.
The Ariya will be longer, wider and taller, while packing more power and a longer driving range. Lower grade models will target eco-friendly, tech-savvy customers, while high-end variants go for gusto.
"For Nissan, the Ariya is not just another new model. It is a model that opens a new chapter in the history of Nissan," CEO Makoto Uchida said at an online launch on Wednesday. "The Ariya itself represents the future Nissan envisions."
To herald the new nameplate, Nissan also unveiled a new logo. The refreshed brand emblem is a more two-dimensional, minimalistic reimagining of today's stylized sun badge. Nissan said the new logo will be used on all upcoming vehicles as they are introduced or refreshed.
The Ariya will go on sale in Japan in mid-2021 and land in North America, Europe and China by the end of next year. Nissan said it expects to price the vehicle at about $40,000. But in Japan, pricing will start at around 5 million yen ($46,770). High-performance grades are expected to push the price band up by at least another $10,000.
Chief Vehicle Engineer Hikaru Nakajima said the Ariya's sales launch is not behind schedule despite earlier speculation it would hit showrooms as early as this year.
Nakajima said his team, which has been working on the vehicle for five years, benchmarked the Tesla Model Y crossover, though the goal wasn't to compete with it on all fronts. Among the Ariya's advantages, Nakajima said, is much more cabin space than the Model Y.