Lotus has developed a 1.2 litre 47bhp Range Extender Engine that will show at Frankfurt and be trialled in a Jaguar XJ.
Lotus have been innovators – and innovators on a budget at that – ever since Colin Chapman took them to the top of the road car and track car tree in the seventies. Working with what at times seemed like nothing more than a wish and a prayer, Chapman took Lotus to the automotive peaks with cars like the Lotus Elan and the Lotus series of F1 cars.
Mind you, all that innovation and inspiration did make a few bob at times. I had reason to be in Norfolk a few years ago and got invited to Colin Chapman’s old house. A two-up, two-down it wasn’t. Still, the man deserved it.
And that spirit of enterprise and innovation lives on in Lotus today who, with Jaguar, MIRA and Caparo have been working on the ‘Green-Limo’ project, in conjunction with the Technology Strategy Board.
Lotus’ contribution to the project has been to develop ‘Mono-Block’ three-pot engine that has been designed to be a ‘Range Extender’ for a generator without the drawbacks of a conventional engine co-opted in to use. The 1.2 litre produces just 47bhp and weighs in at about the weight of a sack of potatoes, thanks to the integration of the head, block and manifolds in to one casting. But coupled to an electric generator it will produce a decent enough amount of power.
In fact, the Lotus Range Extender is going to be shoved in to a lightened Jaguar XJ later this year. It is expected to return over 60mpg with emissions of around 120g/km, but with a top speed limited to not much more than 100mph.
Interesting development, and a logical way to go – building something bespoke instead of utilising current technology. And the idea of a 1.2 litre Jaguar XJ that still performs adequately is enticing. – at least for chauffeur companies.
The Lotus Range extender will be presented next week at the Frankfurt Motor Show.