This year’s edition of the Paris Motor Show marked a lot of great premieres, every car maker wanting to show they have solid plans for the future, especially in the low emissions segment, a lot of electric and hybrid concepts being presented. Lotus, which was one of the most active car maker in Paris, with a lot of new cars presented for the time, also want a part in the “green” market and the result was the Lotus City Car Concept, a small city car with a hybrid powertrain.
The concept is powered by a Lotus Engineering designed and integrated series hybrid drivetrain featuring a electric motor and a 1.2 litre, 3 cylinder Lotus Range Extender engine. According to Lotus, the system’s total output is 162 kW (220 hp), but that’s the top figure, because the continuous value is 54 kW (73 hp).
However, the 240 Nm of torque are instantly available and, at a weight of 1400 kg, the City Car accelerates from 0 to 50 km/h (31 mph) in 4.5 seconds, from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 9 seconds (not bad at all) and reaches a top speed of 170 km/h (105 mph) with a charge sustaining top speed of 120 km/h, while producing only 60 g/km of CO2 emissions.
The car’s driving range is 60 kilometers (37 miles), when in EV mode, but when in hybrid mode, the range goes up to 500 kilmeters (311 miles). What’s very interesting is that the gasoline engine, when running, is only used to power the electric motor and charge the batteries, and it plays no other role in the propulsion. Also, the engine is designed for flex-fuel operation, being able to run on regular gasoline, ethanol and methanol.
On the exterior, the Lotus City Car Concept want to be an urban car with a very powerful sportscar stance. And even though the car has the Lotus mouth and diffuser, wide track, low ride height and big wheels it’s kind of hard to take for a serious sportscar something like this.
Dany Bahar, Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus said, “Lotus Design has created a vehicle that condenses the essence of Lotus into a low carbon city car, with many inspired design touches. The progressive technology from Lotus Engineering gives the car an advanced drivetrain that can be operated in Zero Emissions EV mode or run on its flex-fuel engine.”
Adding “As you would expect from Lotus, the City Car concept is an exquisitely designed, highly efficient vehicle with class leading performance – in this concept car, Lotus Design and Lotus Engineering have provided the perfect solution for life in the contemporary city environment.”
But one thing’s for sure, the car is very stylish, with the large glass roof incorporated into the design, the interior upholstered in green and yellow tartan fabric and the great looking steering wheel, not to mention the mix of carbon fibre, leather and high tech equipment.
As for the big question regarding if this car will ever go into production, Lotus is currently looking for a partner and is hoping to start making the City Car from 2014.