Lotus Evora hybrid - Geneva Motor Show
Lotus has been hinting at its hybrid developments for a while now but here at Geneva it's gone public with the, well, electrifying Evora 414E Hybrid. And when you hear the '414' refers to the horsepower you know it's going to be fun...
It's just another example of Geneva 2010 marking the moment hybrids and electric cars suddenly got sexy, with everyone from Honda to Porsche and Ferrari out to prove that eco friendliness and driving pleasure needn't be mutually exclusive.
The solution chosen by Lotus for the Evora 414E uses a 'series hybrid' design in which the petrol engine works exclusively as an onboard generator. The innovative 48hp engine has been designed purely for this purpose and is notably small and light.
All show, no go?
Lotus hopes to be able to sell this technology on and the Evora 414E is simply a showcase. But some showcase, the two electric motors generating 414hp and promising 0-62mph in less than four seconds and a range of over 300 miles.
A motor in each wheel torque vectoring - another Geneva buzzword - and a simulated seven-speed 'gearbox' boost driver involvement, while so-called HALOsonic 'sound contouring' alerts pedestrians to the Evora's presence and banishes the milk float sensation of some electric cars.
It requires no changes to the standard Evora chassis and, save for the loss of the 'plus 2' rear seats (that's where the lithium battieries live), is little different to a standard car. It only weighs 100kg more too: it will be driveable from August, promises Lotus...
Clearly Lotus has been learning much from its work building the Tesla and feedback stemming from the project. Lotus has always done well in a consultancy role - attributed or not - to mainstream manufacturers and this is a perfect opportunity to really cash in. First application? A Proton concept, to be seen elsewhere in Geneva...
Racing Evora debuts
Also at Geneva is the final, race ready version of the Evora Cup - homologated for GT4 racing where it will face Aston Martins, Maseratis, Corvettes and other exotica.
If racing were simply a beauty contest the Evora Cup would already be off to a winning start. Extra kudos for the show stand car: it's fresh from testing by new Lotus F1 driver Jarno Trulli...
Lotus also had some surprise news: it's going back to Indycar racing, with engine partner Cosworth. This will, hopes the firm, recreate some of the 1960s domination it had with Jim Clark. No wonder the former Malaysian Prime Minister, who's now an advisor to Lotus, looked so please!
Other news at the Lotus stand is the thoroughly revised - and surprisingly eco friendly - Elise range, the baby Lotus now facelifted to bring it into line with the Evora and some of the fussier elements of the previous look now tidied up.
So the new Elise appears a lot cleaner and more up to date, the front clamshell, rear bumper and engine cover all new and the drag coefficient improved by 4% to the benefit of CO2 and fuel consumption.
Cleaner new Elise
New LED head and tail lamps - including daytime running lights - are also part of the updates. But there are significant revisions under the skin too, most notably on the entry-level model.
This gets a new 1.6-litre Toyota VVT-I engine with the latest Valvematic efficiency boosting technology. Compared with the 1.8 on the outgoing S CO2 is slashed from 179g/km to just 155g/km and the combined mpg improves from 37.2 to 46mpg.
Such are the benefits of a featherweight build, the 136hp plenty for enjoying the Elise's minimalist thrills. If you do want a bit more grunt the 192hp R and supercharged 220hp SC are as before, both emitting 199g/km of CO2.