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Ever since the Lotus Esprit V8 went out of production in 2004, Lotus has been exclusively using Toyota engines for its cars. While these motors have provided power and reliability, many customers of the brand feel that the company should have its own engines. After all, can you imagine a Ferrari being powered by anything other than their own engines?
Dany Bahar, CEO of Lotus agrees and wishes to develop engines bespoke for its automobiles. Since Lotus is delaying the Elan, the funds earmarked for that car can now be used towards developing new engines.
Bahar said, “This is a big [financial] hit because it’s expensive to do an engine. But because the Elan is not happening now we have got capital expenditure headroom for engine development.”
The work on these new engines has already began, and the first prototype V8 should breathe into life by this July. Power output is expected to be around the 570-hp mark, to compete with the likes of Ferrari.
The push for these new engines came from an internet survey Lotus conducted in which 10,000 people took part. The majority favored Lotus to put their efforts behind their own engines.
The plan is to design a modular V8 which can spawn a four-cylinder engine also for use in the next Elise. However, if that doesn’t work out, they will continue using Toyota engines.
Expect the first of the new breed of Lotus road cars to hit the streets by 2013.
The hybrid engine that first appeared in the Lotus Evora 414E concept is supposedly attracting interest from 3 major manufacturers, according, according to a Lotus official.
Chief project engineer Lee Jeffcoat told Inside Line that there is interest from “several OEMS in 5,000-10,000 units annually, for a potential annual output of 30,000 engines,” as well as smaller companies looking for 1,000 engines per year.
Among the unique features on the engine are an intake manifold pipes cast into the block, a vestige from the original prototype that used a combined head and block. The engine is capable of forced induction, but a supercharger apparently provides greater results. The engine can be packaged in nearly any configuration, and displacement has grown from 1.2L to 1.3L and now makes 47 horsepower, or 67 with the aide of a supercharger.
[Source: Inside Line]
There might not be a larger void between two automakers than the British brands Lotus and Rolls-Royce. One focuses on bare-bones sports cars, while the other epitomizes excessive luxury. But when Rolls-Royce decided to push ahead with plans to create an electric car concept, it went straight to the engineering minds at Lotus.
On display at the Geneva Auto Show, the Rolls-Royce 102EX, or Experimental Electric, utilizes Lotus technology, although the results are rather underwhelming. Rolls-Royce is using this car to see if there’s a market for an electric version of its super luxury saloon, but with a 0-62 mph time of “under eight seconds,” it’s hard to be impressed – especially when the standard V12-powered car does it in just 5.7 seconds. The reason for the more sedate acceleration might be that the two electric motors, which combine to make 290 kW and 590 lb-ft of torque, are powered by a lithium-ion battery pack that weighs, wait for it… 1,411 lbs.
Rolls will take the 102EX on a world-wide tour this year to gauge interest from potential customers. If they don’t ship it, however, it might just take all year to drive around the world with a range of 124 miles between charges.
GALLERY: Rolls-Royce 102EX
Lotus’s engineering department is constantly working on new projects that will make cars not only faster, but also more efficient. The company’s latest project is the Lotus Range Extender Engine, a hybrid drivetrain that serves as an off-the-shelf solution for existing automakers looking for a hybrid engine for a mini-car.
By designing this new engine from scratch, rather than using existing parts from an existing engine, Lotus engineers were able to re-think the entire process. As a result, the Range Extender Engine is far lighter and simpler than existing hybrid powerplants.
Using a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine, mated to an electric motor, the Range Extender Engine weighs just 124 lbs. This was achieved by using a monoblock design where the cylinder head and block are one piece, eliminating the need to a head-gasket (and 16 other parts), improving the engine’s strength and reducing weight. The exhaust manifold is also an integrated part of the monoblock, eliminating 18 more parts.
As for power output, the engine makes 47hp at 3500 rpm and 79 ft-lbs of torque at 2500 rpm.
“Most series hybrid vehicles that are currently being developed will use adaptations of existing, conventional engines which are therefore compromised in the efficiency that they can achieve, designed as they are for a wide range of operating conditions,” says Simon Wood, Technical Director of Lotus Engineering. “Designing the Lotus Range Extender purely for use in series hybrids has allowed us instead to develop an optimized engine that has high thermal efficiency, low fuel consumption, multi-fuel capability and a 35 kW peak output from a 1.2 liter, low cost architecture over the precise operating range required by a series hybrid drivetrain.”
Lotus will official debut the Range Extender Engine at the Frankfurt Auto Show next week alongside the 2010 Elise Club Racer and the 2010 Exige Cup 260.
Official release after the jump:
Lotus CEO Mike Kimberley has announced his retirement as the head of the U.K. based sports car maker due to medical reasons. The 70-year-0ld Kimberley has been suffering from severe back pain, underwent surgery in 2008 and has now been advised by his doctors to resign his position.
“Sadly, it is on doctor’s orders that I am stepping down but I will leave confident that Lotus is in great shape with a strong management team fully supported by our shareholder in Malaysia,” Kimberley said in a statement. “It’ll be very hard to leave knowing that there are such exciting times ahead but I’ll take with me many very happy memories. I want to extend my thanks to the company’s shareholder for their unfailing support, my management team and the wonderful staff both at Hethel and at our various operational locations throughout the world. Most of all I want to thank our Lotus customers and loyal fans worldwide for their support over the years.”
Kimberley started his career with Jaguar in 1953 and has since worked in the automotive industry for 56 years. He joined Lotus in 1969, leaving in 1992 to pursue other opportunities with companies like General Motors and Lamborghini, before returning to Lotus in 2006.
Since then Kimberley has over seen the production of the Evora, as well as the expansion of Lotus Engineering, a world renowned high-tech engineering firm.
Kimberley will officially retire on tomorrow, July 17th.
Official release after the jump: