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Guilt-free 300kW performance

2010-02-25 07:58
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Lotus
Model Evora E414
Engine Dual electric, 1.2l petrol
Power 300kW
Torque 800Nm (400Nm limited)
Transmission Single ratio
Zero To Hundred 4.2 seconds
Innovative performance car manufacturer, Lotus, will preview perhaps the most convincing hybrid yet at Geneva next week – its Evora 414E.

Always keen for an engineering challenge, the designers and technicians at Hethel have not simply installed a battery pack into the Evora to reduce the load on its 3.5l V6 petrol engine.

Instead, Lotus has come up with a comprehensive hybrid engineering solution which addresses the need for lower emissions and consumption, whilst still optimising dynamics.

The Evora 414E’s configuration boasts two rear mounted electric motors and a 1.2l tri-cylinder petrol engine.

Unlike many conventional hybrids the 35kW petrol engine never directly powers any of the drive wheels; it charges an onboard lithium polymer batter pack instead, which adds 56km of range.

Lotus claims the Evora 414E’s total hybrid range is nearly 500km, though we doubt you’ll get particularly far employing all the performance on offer.

It dispatches the 0-100km/h benchmark sprint in a whisper over four seconds – that’s properly fast, even when judged at the radical end of the performance car scale.

This is the 3.5l V6 Evora. Neat proportions, plenty of space inside thanks to clever packaging. Expect the E414 to add a glass roof.

300kW - yes please

The Evora E414’s electric motors each feed one of the rear drive wheels, with individual output limited to 150kW and 400Nm per wheel – which is plenty.

With each wheel boasting its own dedicated drive source, an intricate set of software algorithms are able to enact a range of dynamic behaviour. This enables true performance torque vectoring without the mechanical complexity of Porsche’s PVT system, for example.

Think of Evora E414’s drive system as a limited-slip, fully-lockable and traditional open differential all in one – buoyed by virtually infinite adjustability, due to the generous range of electronic control available.

Evora E414’s dynamic validity does not end with a surfeit of electric drive power and some clever torque vectoring software.

Although the transmission only has a single forward ratio, more intelligent software engineering introduces seven artificial ‘gears’ into its shift-regime, ready to be actuated by the driver via a set of column-mounted paddle-shifters.

Standard Evora cabin will exchange the manual-shifter for paddles and add a serious sound-system to replicate internal combustion engine sounds. How cool is that?

In stereo?

Rounding off the engineers (very) lateral thinking towards Evora E414’s blend of dynamics and economy is an acoustics solution to the eerie din usually associated with hybrid cars. Let’s be honest: Tesla’s Roadster is a stunning little performance car, but a bit quiet – right?

To this end Lotus teamed up with Harman International to source a HALOsonice internal and external electronic sound synthesis system.

Essentially there are speakers inside and out which mimic the traditional sound of internal combustion performance motoring. This should keep potential E414 owners happy and pedestrians (cyclists too, probably) safe, as they’ll always hear the hybrid Evora motoring up behind them.

Lotus will officially unveil the Evora E414 on Monday at the Geneva motor show. Expect potential production scheduling to be announced then too – hopefully…

From where we are sitting, it appears to be a stunningly well thought out performance hybrid. Would you expect anything less from Hethel though?


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