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 |  Apr 27 2010, 3:17 PM

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“Add lightness,” is the world famous maxim of Lotus founder Colin Chapman, and decades on, the British specialty firm rigidly adheres to their mantra, producing cars like the Elise, Exige and Evora that can hang with the world’s best supercars and still deliver terrific fuel economy, thanks to their featherweight construction and efficient powertrains.

But the sports car market is limited in its scope, and Lotus is looking to bring its trade secrets to the mainstream world. Lotus held a demonstration featuring a Toyota Venza that had been given a weight reduction treatment by Lotus, and the improved car was 38% lighter, excluding the drivetrain.

Despite retaining the same interior and exterior dimensions, as well as safety characteristics, the car used lighter interior pieces, climate control units and re-designed suspension components that allowed for more efficient packaging of the car, and exotic materials were kept to a minimum.

Lotus claims that lightweight cars will have a positive effect on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and boost fuel consumption, although no specifics were given. Lotus has collaborated with other manufacturers in the past, notably General Motors and Ford, but their projects have always been performance rather than economy cars.

[Source: World Car Fans]