Sports cars are getting greener. First came Tesla’s Roadster, then Audi and Ferrari jumped on the bandwagon with the electric R8 e-tron and upcoming hybrid Enzo successor, respectively. Now, even Britain’s tiny Lotus Cars has a way to go fast and cut emissions. The company is testing a hybrid version of its Evora. The Evora 414E debuted as a concept at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, and is heading for series production.
Lotus considers the Evora 414E an extended-range electric vehicle, like the Fisker Karma and Chevy Volt. The standard Evora’s 3.5-liter V6 is replaced by a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine designed specifically for hybrids. In addition to gasoline, this compact engine can also run on alcohol (methanol or ethanol).
Each of the Evora 414E’s rear wheels is powered by its own electric motor. Power flows through an Xtrac transmission. As with other hybrids, the Evora 414E’s gasoline engine recharges its batteries and provides direct power to the electric motors when necessary. Unlike the Karma’s engine, the 1.2-liter can also drive the rear wheels directly. Lotus says the Evora 414E can drive 30 miles on electricity alone, and has a combined range of 300 miles.
The combined output of the three-cylinder engine and electric motors is an impressive 408 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. According to Lotus, that will get the Evora 414E from 0 to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds, and on to a top speed of 130 mph. A non-hybrid Evora S (345 hp, 295 lb-ft) can do 0 to 60 in 4.3 seconds, and hit a top speed of 172 mph.
Achieving parity with its petrol-powered counterpart is a good sign; Lotus says the Evora 414E will live up to the company’s reputation. Development engineer Simon Corbett said the acceleration was “almost indescribable.”
One element of a traditional Lotus that will be missing is sound. Creeping along on electric power, the Evora 414E will be nearly silent. To make things more exciting, and to protect pedestrians, Lotus designed the HALOsonic “sound contouring” system, to warn pedestrians. Maybe Lotus’ engineers can include some Formula 1 recordings, or some TIE fighter howl, to properly alert pedestrians.
Lotus displayed an Evora 414E prototype at the Goodwood Festival of Speed but, so far, it will be just that. Lotus plans on selling a hybrid in the near future, but it plans on tinkering with the Evora 414E for awhile first.