The Lotus Evora 414E – a Lotus Engineering range extender hybrid project – is still moving ahead with dynamic and durability testing now underway.
It’s getting on for three years since Lotus turned up at Geneva with an Evora like no other – the Lotus Evora 414E.
On the surface the Evora 414E looked like every other Evora, but under the skin sat the first version of a Lotus range-extender platform with a pair of electric motors and a small, 3-cylinder range-extender engine promising impressive performance and economy.
Despite the reveal of the 414E at Geneva in 2010, there’s not been a huge amount of news on Lotus pushing forward with the project, or at least not until we got the Infiniti Emerg-E Concept at Geneva this year that turned out to be underpinned by the Evora 414E platform.
But the Evora 414E hasn’t been designed as a production viable car, but rather as a rolling platform for Lotus to develop its hybrid and EV expertise with funding from the Technology Strategy Board and the input of partners including Nissan (the Infiniti connection), Xtrac, Evo electric and JLR (although JLR has now gone its own route with the Jaguar XJ-e Concept).
In the time since we first saw the 414E Concept, Lotus has moved the project on with lots of new stuff like Synchronous Axial flux Drive Motors (no, it’s not Back to the Future) that have improved the motor’s torque output accuracy massively, and new software control for the powertrains.
The Evora 414E is now undergoing durability and dynamic testing at Hethel and looks very promising as a proposal for a range-extender sports car, albeit a niche one.
The 1.2 litre, 3-cylinder engine Lotus has developed for the 414E produces 47bhp and provides charge for the 15kWh battery pack, lurking where the back seats were (and weighing in at 250kg), and runs on petrol, methanol or ethanol.
The ICE motor provides power for an EVO generator which produces electricity which is either stored in the batteries (which can manage 30 miles from an initial plug-in charge) or used to power the electric motors directly when the driver demands acceleration or the batteries drop below 30 per cent charge.
Weight has inevitably increased over an ICE Evora (it’s up by 375kg) but despite that the 414E can still get to 62mph in 4.4 seconds and top out at 133mph, with an official CO2 emissions level of 55g/km.
Lotus are now working on a number of changes to the 414E as it starts proper testing, including an artificial ‘Gear Change’ programme to simulate proper driving and a supercharger for the 3-pot range-extender engine to give more performance.
Lotus say there’s another year or so of development to go on the 414E, but if it all goes as planned it is highly possible we could see a version of the platform arrive in 2015 in the Infiniti Emerg-E.
It’s a heavy, complicated and expensive solution for a performance sports car platform, but as a niche product the Lotus expertise should ensure that it offers proper driver involvement as well as impressive headline economy and performance.
And isn’t it good to see good news from Lotus, just for a change?
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