Lotus Proton Concept – Click above for high-res image

Lotus has provided a sneak peak at the underpinnings of its Proton concept ahead of the city car's world debut at next week's Geneva Motor Show, and while it isn't much to go on, it's a keen glimpse into the automaker's future plans.

According to Lotus, the concept, penned by Italdesign, will be the first use of Lotus' Range Extender engine, a series hybrid equipped with a 1.2-liter three-cylinder that sends electrical power to the drive motors and on to a single speed transmission. The city car can be plugged in to any AC main, allowing the driver to run off electricity alone for an unspecified range.

The Lotus Range Extender was originally unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year and if Lotus continues at this clip, we could see the city car on sale within the next three years. Full details in the press release after the jump.
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Lotus hybrid power for the PROTON Concept

The PROTON Concept car, to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, showcases an advanced series hybrid drivetrain, designed and developed by Lotus Engineering.

Lotus Engineering, the world-renowned automotive consultancy division of Lotus Cars Limited today announces its latest series hybrid vehicle technology application in the PROTON Concept, which will be unveiled at the 80th International Geneva Motor Show. The complete hybrid drivetrain in the PROTON Concept city car has been developed by Lotus Engineering and it includes the Lotus Range Extender engine, designed specifically for series hybrid vehicles.

The PROTON Concept, a plug-in series hybrid city car, has been styled by Italdesign and will be unveiled on the Italdesign stand at the Geneva Motor Show. Lotus Engineering has designed and integrated the complete drivetrain, including the electrical drive system with single-speed transmission, which delivers low emissions, optimised performance and acceptable electric-only operating range for city use. For longer journeys, when the battery charge level falls, the 3 cylinder, 1.2 litre Lotus Range Extender engine is used to replenish the charge in the battery and provide electrical power for the drive motors. The battery can also be recharged via an AC mains domestic outlet to achieve initial electric-only operation.

Dr Robert Hentschel, Director of Lotus Engineering said: "The hybrid drivetrain of the PROTON Concept is another example of Lotus Engineering's expertise in electrical and electronic systems and efficient performance engines. The high efficiency Lotus Range Extender engine, which we unveiled to great acclaim at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show last year is perfectly suited for the advanced series hybrid we have created for the PROTON Concept city car. It is an exciting example of the diverse range of highly efficient total propulsion systems that Lotus Engineering continues to develop for its partners and clients."

PROTON Holdings Berhad Group Managing Director, Dato' Haji Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohd Tahir said, "Our collaboration with Lotus and Italdesign on progressive technology and design will further propel our competitiveness in the world market. Through this association, we strive to acquire and jointly develop new knowledge, skills and technologies that will ultimately benefit our customers."