America’s answer to the LaFerrari/P1/918?
Why can’t America build a hybrid hypercar just as insanely powerful and capable as the best from Europe? That question has motivated creation of the Aria FXE and its less extreme gasoline-only sibling, the FE. If the company’s name rings no bells, you have at least seen its work; it currently produces all the carbon-fiber body panels for the exclusive Singer “reimagined 911s,” and it has been building one-off concept cars and movie vehicles for 20 years—including the stunning Ford GR-1 and the recent Kia GT4 Stinger concept.
Recent regulations that reduce the burden of crash testing on low-volume manufacturers have opened a niche for companies such as Aria to build and sell cars in very low volumes. (Aria expects FE and FXE sales to total 400 cars or fewer over several years.) At the same time, rapid-prototyping technologies for the 3-D printing of aluminum and titanium parts (as well as anything plastic) are becoming more and more affordable, reducing the cost of tooling to produce low-volume vehicles.
One final leg of the stool supporting Aria’s dream of producing a hypercar is its patent-pending Integrated Composite Structure chassis concept. The pending nature of the intellectual property restricted the degree to which representatives were willing to comment on this tech (watch our Technologue pages in the coming months), but we’re told it involves a simplified, less handmade production method for a carbon-fiber tub that integrates all the powertrain and suspension mounting attachment hardware.
Bolting in behind the passenger tub will be “a small-block V-8 from an American manufacturer” producing 720 horsepower (please see our ZR1 coverage). The company is still searching for a seven- or eight-speed dual-clutch transmission that can stand up to the immense torque of that blown V-8, but Xtrac is likely to get the contract. Up front, FXE models will get a pair of axial-flux induction electric motors that add another 540 hp. Total output is pegged at 1,150 hp and 1,316 lb-ft of torque; remember that electric and gas powerplants peak at quite different rpm, so their peaks can’t be added. These will obviously be capable of providing front-axle torque vectoring and of regenerating energy during braking. Storing said energy will be from a 10-kW-hr lithium-ion battery pack.
The sleek-looking vehicle employs scarab-wing-style doors that hinge along a line roughly aligned with the angled shut line slanting down from the A-pillars to the wheel openings. Engine access is provided by raising the entire rear of the car (it breaks at the rear door shut line) with the assistance of hydraulic struts. The huge carbon-fiber piece is said to be quite light. Speaking of weight, the company pegs curb weight at about 3,450 pounds (1,565 kg) (for a nice, even 3.0 pounds/horsepower ratio).
The cars will be highly bespoke with no two exactly alike and will be priced north of $1 million USD. Deliveries are expected to start in late 2019, rolling off an “assembly line” in Irvine, California.