NISSAN is stepping up its electrification strategy with a new battery-powered SUV crossover and a range extender version of its latest Qashqai.
The all-electric Ariya is arriving now while the Qashqai e-Power - which heralds a new breed of EV for the Japanese brand - will be coming on stream in September.
The e-Power system is being described by Nissan as a stepping-stone for drivers who want to ‘green up' but who are not ready to push the full-electric button and it uses a petrol engine to generate electricity for a motor which drives the wheels.
As such it is quicker and more economical than the mild-hybrid Qashqai Nissan launched last year when it began the electric journey for its British-built favourite.
The Ariya on the other hand is made in Nissan's homeland and it is out to rival the likes of the Volkswagen ID.4, the Mercedes-Benz EQC and the new Kia Niro, to name but a few.
It is priced from £43,845 for a model powered by a 160kW motor with a 63kWh battery, £49,595 for a more powerful 178kW version with a larger 87kWh battery or £52,295 for an all-wheel-drive e-4orce variant which develops 225kW and has twice the amount of torque.
The Ariya is Nissan's second pure EV following on from the Leaf which was launched back in 2010 when it became a pioneer for the electric age.
Since then, Nissan has gone on to sell more than 600,000 Leafs and now is setting out to grow its slice of the EV market with the Ariya which will become its new electric flagship.
Two trim levels are available on the Ariya - Advance and Evolve with the higher-grade versions costing from Â£47,840.
With batteries slung under the floor the Ariya is roomy and very modern inside with haptic buttons on the dash and centre console - just one of its high-tech features.
Nought to 62mph acceleration takes 7.5 seconds in the base model while the all-wheel-drive e-4ORCE model with the larger 87kWh battery is even quicker taking a lively 5.7 seconds to complete the sprint.
Top speed for the two-wheel-drive versions is 100mph while the 4x4 can manage 124mph.
Nissan is claiming a range of up to 329 miles for the Ariya with the bigger battery, 310 miles for the 4x4 and 250 miles for the 63kWh car.
Recharging can be done to 80 per cent capacity in around 30 minutes from a fast charger while boot space is 466 litres with all seats in use for the 2WD versions and 408 litres for the all-wheel-drive. The absence of a transmission tunnel makes for even more room in the cabin.
The cabin also features a sliding centre console that moves front to aft by some six inches and sits behind electrically opening storage bins in the dashboard.
A state-of-the-art instrument panel uses two screens joining together to become almost a 25-inch double screen below a head-up display.
Nissan's ProPilot, e Pedal and automatic parking systems are fitted as on other Nissan EVs while on the road the Ariya is incredibly quiet.
We tried out a 63kWH Ariya in the higher of the two trims and it performed faultlessly over a 100 mile drive.
Starting off on a full charge showing 237 miles range it completed the run with 105 miles remaining on the trip computer - so almost smack on the official data.
On the handling front the Ariya exhibited no bad habits and overall it is very straightforward and easy to drive given the amount of technology that is onboard.
The charging port is over the front wheel arch which is ideal for most home charging set up and the cables stow conveniently in the boot.
Among the current crop of advanced EVs the Ariya is keenly priced, competitive on all fronts and a handsome car to boot - well placed to cement Nissan's position as a pioneer of the new age of motoring.