Behind the scenes, Lotus is much more than a low-volume manufacturer of sporty little roadsters. Along with Lotus Cars, Group Lotus houses Lotus Engineering. With decades of motorsports experience, Lotus Engineering offers consulting expertise to automotive suppliers and OEM manufacturers. They've even made their mark in the intense world of cycling. More recently, their close work with Tesla as the supplier of the Roadster's chassis must have had some influence on the next direction of the firm, as they have now announced the creation of a new Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Group. Lotus hopes the move will further expand its consulting reach.

The newly-anointed Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Group is already busy with project Low CO2. The initiative is a collaborative effort with automotive supplier Continental. The engineers have reduced the CO2 emissions of the already low-emitting 1.5L gasoline-powered Opel Astra by 15 percent while also bumping up its power output. Their achievements are accomplished through improved exhaust manifold design, injector placement, altered valve lift and timing, increased fuel pressure and the implementation of a mild hybrid drive. Follow the jump for the official press release.

[Source: Lotus via AutoblogGreen]



PRESS RELEASE:
Lotus Announces Introduction of Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Group

Lotus Engineering, the world renowned automotive consultancy division of Lotus, has created a new research and development group solely for electric and hybrid vehicles. The formation of this group recognises the increasing global importance of hybrid and electric vehicles, and the increasing amount of consultancy project work in this area that is being undertaken by Lotus Engineering.

Mike Kimberley, Chief Executive Officer for Group Lotus plc, said, "I am pleased to confirm the formalisation of this existing team, which will support our strong global growth on ecological technologies. We have an intensely proactive growth plan over the next five years and we are already seeing substantial increases in third party client work for our global client base, of which considerable research and development into hybrid and electric vehicles is a major part. Indeed over the next five years, Lotus will further reinforce its position as a world leader in green transport engineering."

Phil Barker has been appointed as Chief Engineer of Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies and will report to Geraint Castleton-White, Head of Powertrain. Geraint is delighted with the group's formation: "We are committed to driving forward with green technology for both Lotus Cars and our Engineering clients. We have made significant developments over 20 years in hybrid and electric vehicle technologies with recent examples being the Lotus EVE (Efficient, Viable, Environmental) hybrid technology demonstrator and the Low CO2 project undertaken in collaboration with Continental Division Powertrain."

Phil will have full responsibility for research and development of hybrid and electric vehicles within Lotus Engineering and is relishing the challenge: "This is a fantastic opportunity for me to continue the already ground-breaking and successful work conducted on hybrid and electric vehicles by Lotus Engineering. We already have an incredibly strong team of engineers working in this area and the formalisation of this group further enhances our ability to provide both Low CO2 and zero emissions vehicle solutions to our clients."

Phil (41) began his career at Lotus in 2003 as an Executive Engineer focusing on hybrid and electric vehicles. Prior to joining Lotus, he spent over 13 years working for independent automotive design consultancies. Phil is a graduate in Mechanical Engineering from Coventry University and is a Chartered Engineer. He is married and has two young children.