Lotus Planning BMW Megacity Rival; Prototype to Debut at Paris Auto Show

Lotus Planning BMW Megacity Rival; Prototype to Debut at Paris Auto Show

Hot on the heels of a press release from Lotus Engineering about a new lightweight vehicle study comes related news that the British sports car manufacturer will debut a new electric small car at the Paris Auto Show.

The release from Lotus states that the company has been commissioned by the Air Resources Board of California to, “undertake the second stage of a study investigating efficient, lightweight vehicles manufactured using lighter, stronger materials.” The release clearly states that the new study, “will use a mixture of materials…. including aluminum, composites, high strength lightweight steel and plastics” and that the purpose of the activity is to determine if the car (a prototype already in existence) can hold up to U.S. crash testing and safety requirements.

According to a report by AutoExpress, the prototype to which Lotus Engineering is referring is the Proton EMAS concept, which debuted at the Geneva Auto Show earlier this year. The plan, it would seem, is to build this car for Malaysia, while a 3-door version would be sold in other markets – including the U.K. and the U.S.

Power for the car will come from the 50-hp Lotus 1.2-liter Range Extender engine, which works like the one found in the Chevy Volt, delivering 30 miles of emissions free driving before the gasoline engine kicks in to charge the batteries.

Again, in the Lotus press release, the company hints that the car will debut at the Paris Auto Show alongside other rumored models like the Esprit, and two front-engined GT cars, as well as confirmed models like the Evora S and IPS.

A more production-oriented prototype model will be shown at the Paris Auto Show with the car possibly set to debut as early as 2012.

GALLERY: Proton EMAS Concept

5door.jpgemas-3topback.jpgemas-onroad1.jpgemas-onroad3.jpgemas-onroad4.jpgprotonEMAS-resized.jpg

[Source: AutoExpress and Lotus]

Official release after the jump:

PRESS RELEASE

State Recognises Lotus as Expert in Lightweight Vehicles

The State of California awards $2 million research programme to Lotus Engineering for a study into efficient, lightweight cars of the future.

Lotus Engineering is delighted to announce that it has been commissioned by the Air Resources Board of California to undertake the second stage of a study investigating efficient, lightweight vehicles manufactured using lighter, stronger materials.

Lotus Engineering will conduct a detailed structural design and analysis of the prototype vehicle from an earlier study to demonstrate it meets the crashworthiness and stringent safety requirements for vehicles sold in the United States.

In April this year, Lotus Engineering concluded the first part of the study, released by the International Council on Clean Transportation in California, which recognised that a reduction in vehicle mass of 38% can be achieved for medium volume vehicles (around 50,000 units a year) with just an increase in 3% in vehicle cost and giving a 23% reduction in fuel consumption.

It is widely recognised in the automotive industry that a reduction in vehicle mass gives more efficient vehicles; with the global drive to reduce emissions, manufacturers are working hard to take mass out their cars. Lightweight vehicles have additional benefits in terms of performance, agility and cornering, (the lighter the car, the less power it needs to propel it along the road for the same performance as a heavier car).

For 62 years, Lotus has been leading the car world with ‘performance through light weight’ engineering. The strict adherence to this philosophy enabled Lotus to develop some of the finest sportscars of all time such as the Lotus Elite, Elan, Esprit from Lotus’ peerless past and the Elise, Exige and Evora from the current line up – all of which are the lightest cars in their class. But it is not just sportscars; Lotus’ consultancy division, Lotus Engineering has been applying its light weight principles behind the scenes for other car makers for years on many types of vehicles, both low volume and mass production.

This study will be led by Lotus Engineering’s Michigan, USA office with completion in April 2011. The vehicle design will use a mixture of materials best suited to its application including aluminium, magnesium, composites, high strength lightweight steel and plastics.

This strict adherence to class leading light weight will, of course, continue, and all will be revealed at the Paris Motorshow at 1645 on the 30th  of September 2010 (Hall 5.1).

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