• Feb 24th 2010 at 2:25PM
  • 36
Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid teaser – Click above to enlarge

Lotus has just formally introduced a new 400-plus horsepower sportscar concept. That news in and of itself would be enough to pique our interest, but the rest of the car's spec sheet makes the Evora 414E Hybrid an astonishingly intriguing concept vehicle. As you surely surmised by now, this two-seat sportster is a hybrid, specifically an extended-range electric vehicle that features a pair of rear-mounted electric motors and a 1.2-liter three-cylinder gas-powered engine. Why not fully electric? According to Lotus:
With regard to the total lifetime CO2 emissions of the vehicle, including the energy required to manufacture and run it, the range extender solution has a lower overall CO2 footprint than a fully electric car of comparable performance and operating range running with a larger battery.
That 47-horsepower gasoline engine never actually sends power directly to the Evora 414E Hybrid's wheels. Instead – as with other cars such as the 2011 Chevrolet Volt and the Fisker Karma – the mill is used to recharge the onboard 17 kilowatt-hour lithium polymer battery pack, which is centrally mounted down the middle of the car for optimal weight distribution. That battery pack can provide up to 35 miles of gasoline-free driving per full charge.

Because each rear wheel has a separate connection to its own electric motor, Lotus has programmed in torque vectoring for stability control of the vehicle. This means that a complex set of software algorithms can provide the same kind of benefits as rear-wheel steering and exaggerated toe-in without the expense or efficiency losses of a mechanical system. Each rear wheel puts down 204 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.

Further, though the actual transmission has only one forward ratio, Lotus has programmed in seven artificial "gears" that the driver can row through via a set of column-mounted paddle shifters. Also included is the HALOsonic Internal and External Electronic Sound Synthesis technologies from Lotus and Harman International that pipes artificial sound to both the cabin and outside to pedestrians. Want more? There's plenty to be gleaned in the exhaustive press release that you'll find after the break. Sadly, just one lone copper-topped teaser image, which you can enlarge by clicking above.

[Source: Lotus]
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Introducing the Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid

The 80th International Geneva Motor Show sees Lotus Engineering unveil the Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid concept, a high performance technology demonstrator with a plug-in series hybrid drive system and new technologies for enhanced driver involvement.
  • 0-60 mph/97 kph in under 4 seconds
  • Total hybrid range of over 300 miles/483 kilometres
  • Eco mode or Sports mode featuring realistic 7 speed paddle shift with energy recuperation
  • HALOsonic Internal and External Electronic Sound Synthesis
  • Torque vectoring for improved dynamic stability
  • Integrated glass roof and engine cover and interior concept from Lotus Design
The Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid, so-named because this latest environmentally-focused technology demonstrator from Lotus Engineering produces 414 PS (306 kW) of power, promises breathtaking performance from a highly efficient propulsion system. The concept showcases new developments in plug-in, range-extended electric propulsion, new electronic technologies to enhance driver involvement, the adaptability of the Lotus Versatile Vehicle Architecture (VVA) that underpins the Evora 414E Hybrid and a dramatic new roof system and interior concept from Lotus Design. Through all of these aspects it ultimately demonstrates the exceptional ability of Lotus Engineering to integrate and develop advanced technologies for exciting, efficient, high performance niche vehicles.

The range extended electric drive of the Evora 414E Hybrid consists of two electric motors driving each of the rear wheels independently via single speed geartrain, integrated into a common transmission housing, thus enabling torque vectoring for stability control of the vehicle. Electrical power is stored in a lithium polymer battery pack optimised for energy density, efficiency and high power demand, mounted in the centre of the vehicle for stability and safety. Additional range is provided by the Lotus Range Extender engine, an optimised 1.2 litre, three-cylinder engine, designed specifically for series hybrid vehicles. The drivetrain is designed to combine astonishing performance with efficient, low emissions driving.

Driver involvement is enhanced by the incorporation of HALOsonic Internal and External Electronic Sound Synthesis technologies from Lotus and Harman International, which provide sound contouring within the cabin and improve pedestrian safety outside the vehicle. Integrated with the HALOsonic technology, the Evora 414E Hybrid also showcases a brand new technology from Lotus Engineering, a sports mode that simulates a 7 speed, paddle shift transmission that combines exceptional driver involvement for a hybrid sports car and optimised energy recuperation.

The Evora 414E Hybrid has been designed to highlight Lotus' innovative electric and hybrid vehicle technology without distracting from the pure sportscar character of the Evora. The solution is innovative, instantly recognizable, beautiful and sporty. It demonstrates Lotus DNA.

Dr Robert Hentschel, Director of Lotus Engineering said: "Innovation has always been at the heart of Lotus and is needed now more than ever. The Evora 414E Hybrid is the perfect demonstration of Lotus Engineering's core competencies: lightweight architectures, efficient performance, electrical and electronics integration and driving dynamics. The technology demonstrator represents an encapsulation of the advanced technologies that Lotus Engineering continues to develop to overcome the current environmental challenges facing the automotive industry and showcases the future direction that the sector is taking and why Lotus Engineering is perfectly placed to lead the technological development in this area."

The Drivetrain

For the Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid, Lotus Engineering has developed a highly efficient, high performance drivetrain system consisting of twin motors each limited to providing 152 kW (207 PS/204 hp) of power and 400 Nm (295 lbft) of torque to each wheel via independent, single speed, reduction transmissions integrated into a single housing, enabling torque vectoring dynamic control of the vehicle.

The vehicle energy storage system is made up of the latest Lithium Polymer battery chemistry providing 17 kWH energy storage capacity. The battery pack is optimised for energy density, efficiency and high power demand, with over 100 kW discharge capability.

The Lotus Range Extender engine provides 35 kW (48 PS/47 hp) of power at 3,500 rpm via the integrated electrical generator and features an innovative architecture comprising an aluminium monoblock construction, integrating the cylinder block, cylinder head and exhaust manifold in one casting. This results in reduced engine mass, assembly costs, package size and improved emissions and engine durability. The engine uses an optimised two-valve, port-fuel injection combustion system to reduce cost and mass and can be operated on alcohol-based fuels and/or gasoline. The generator converts mechanical energy to electrical energy to replenish the battery pack charge and provides additional vehicle range in a small light weight package. The generator is also used as a motor to start the range extender engine. The low mass of the range extender unit (85 kg) and compact package makes it ideal for the series hybrid drivetrain in the Evora 414E Hybird.

All the operation and management of the range extender engine, the power management of the batteries and motor control are controlled by Lotus' electronic control units and software systems. Full energy management of all the operating systems is the key to maximising performance and operation while minimising energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

For everyday commuting journeys, up to 35 miles can be travelled using battery power. The battery can be charged overnight using a conventional domestic mains supply through a socket concealed by the rear number plate. This permits the vehicle to operate with zero tailpipe emissions. For longer journeys, exceeding the battery capacity, the highly efficient range extender engine is used as a generator to supply the motor with electrical power and top up the battery.

Lotus has used its own vehicle simulation tools to determine the size, capacity, power and performance of all the components in the drivetrain system to optimise the system operation. Overall this is far more energy efficient, weight efficient and cost effective than fitting the vehicle with a larger and more expensive battery, which for the majority of short journeys is a redundant weight, which increases energy requirements. With regard to the total lifetime CO2 emissions of the vehicle, including the energy required to manufacture and run it, the range extender solution has a lower overall CO2 footprint than a fully electric car of comparable performance and operating range running with a larger battery.

The Package

The Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid structure is the same award-winning, versatile vehicle architecture used on the Lotus Evora. The low volume architecture was designed with the upmost flexibility in mind. The Evora 414E Hybrid is a perfect example of how to integrate a compact packaged drivetrain, with excellent performance and range, while using this underpinning. The complete chassis has remained unchanged from the Evora which maintains the structural integrity and strength performance of the original car.

The structure progresses the Lotus 'bonded and riveted' technology with new and unique extrusions and folded panels, whilst providing production build modularity and lower cost repairs. The chassis has been designed for scalability so that it can be extended in width, length and height. The strength and stiffness of the low volume VVA chassis can be modified cost effectively by varying the wall thickness of the extrusions, without altering the exterior dimensions. The ability to lengthen or shorten extrusions with the option to tailor the chassis stiffness vastly increases the number of vehicles that can be developed from this vehicle architecture.

Driving Dynamics

The Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid offers exhilarating, all-round dynamic performance and takes advantage of Lotus developed torque vectoring dynamics. Torque vectoring, which is the capacity to generate different torques at each of the driving wheels, is particularly suited to electric vehicles and significantly reduces the conflict between stability and response.

A key benefit of separate motors to drive each rear wheel individually is that this facilitates a much higher level of vehicle dynamics control. Driving the wheels with different levels of torque can not only generate all the capabilities of a conventional ESP system using energy regeneration as opposed to brake application, but it can also actively drive each wheel forward at different rates, producing a turning moment at the rear of the vehicle in addition to the steering input.

This can be used to enhance low speed manoeuvrability and ease of parking but can also be used to produce a much greater level of straight line high speed stability. Incorporating lateral sensors the system also provides stability control capabilities and levels of steering response normally only associated with heavy and expensive rear steer systems. This can provide automatic correction of both understeer and oversteer characteristics. In addition, the standard method to provide high speed stability of designing the rear wheels to toe-in is not required as the torque vectoring system automatically provides this stability control, with toe-in increasing rolling resistance, lowering fuel economy and increasing tyre wear. Lotus' long history of active suspension control provides the core capability to develop this technology and provides extraordinary driving pleasure on the Evora 414E Hybrid.

Driver Interaction

The Evora 414E Hybrid provides less of a psychological step change for people familiar with high performance cars compared to other electric and hybrid sports cars. The car has a simulated paddle shift gear change offering ultra quick gear changes reminiscent of a dual clutch transmission, while actually single speed. This enhances the driver interaction with the vehicle and provides a driving experience similar to current internal combustion engine high performance sports cars. The Evora 414E Hybrid uses a column mounted paddle shift to simulate the gear change and a synthesised engine sound changes frequency with virtual gear selection. The drive torque is also modulated to simulate a physical feeling of a gearshift jolt.

The virtual gearshift simulation, like a conventional gearbox, is used to change the driving characteristics and response of the vehicle. The most significant aspect that this offers the driver is the ability to control the vehicle deceleration by simulating engine braking through a virtual downshift in gears. Unlike true engine braking, the Lotus system does not dissipate the energy of the moving vehicle through internal engine friction but uses the electric motors to regenerate the energy back into the battery. While many electric and hybrid vehicles provide engine braking, this is generally at a fixed rate or preselected rate. In some driving situations this can either be too aggressive, slowing the vehicle unnecessarily, or too light, requiring additional braking application. The Lotus system effectively allows the driver to select the appropriate level of regeneration by simulating stepping down by one, two or even three gears. The simulation of engine braking through both the gear noise change and the retardation of the vehicle is fully intuitive to a driver familiar with a conventional gearbox. The simulated gearchange capability can be selected for greater driving involvement or switched off for more relaxed driving.

The Evora 414E Hybrid uses the Lotus Engineering and Harman International developed HALOsonic suite of noise solutions. The first of which is Electronic Sound Synthesis. This generates engine sounds inside the vehicle through the audio system where it provides an exciting sports sound in line with the brand and nature of the vehicle together with a high level of driver feedback in an intuitive manner. In addition, it also generates sound on the outside of the vehicle through speakers mounted at the front and rear to provide a warning to increase pedestrian safety, which is especially important for electric and hybrid vehicles which can be difficult to hear at slower speeds.

There are four driver selectable engine sounds currently on the vehicle, two of which have been designed to have characteristics of a multi-cylinder conventional V6 and V12 engine. There is also a futuristic sound and a combination of a conventional engine and a futuristic sound, enhancing the brand identity of the vehicle as a step forward in electric vehicle design.

The addition of this Lotus patented simulated gearshift concept not only provides for an exciting and involving driving experience that customers would expect from a Lotus, but also enhances the driver's control of the vehicle while providing the capability for more efficient operation through a greater use of energy regeneration.

The Design

The distinctive colour scheme and 'floating' roof have been carefully designed to accent the cars electric vehicle technology whilst complementing the iconic lines of the Evora.

Copper, a colour often associated with electrical systems, has been chosen for the car's exterior and interior. A contemporary satin finish paint is complemented by electrical circuit inspired graphics that highlight the car's key feature lines and the unique glazed roof panel. The newly extended glazed zone integrates seamlessly with the existing forms of the Evora whilst showcasing the key components behind the hybrid and electric vehicle technology.

The signature copper theme is consistently carried throughout the car from the dramatic seat stripes and instrument panel inserts to the copper callipers that nestle behind the carbon grey forged wheels. Inside the cabin a sense of quality and richness has been created by carefully juxtaposing the different tactile qualities intrinsic to leather, Alcantara and metal.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Dunno about this. I applaud Lotus for making a range-extended electric car that's driver oriented for sure, but some of this seems silly. Lotus is about lightweight, functional performance vehicles that involve the driver. I see no room for "simulation" in that equation. If it doesn't add to performance, I don't want it. Speakers? Really? Tell me how blaring a recording of an exhaust note in and out of the car helps with anything. Lame.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Neat, but theres an issue I can't get past. Once you run down that battery pack, all your power comes from a 47HP generator. In normal driving, the occasional power demand surge will be covered by the safety buffer in the battery, and then charged back up.

      But this is a Lotus, and a performance car. If you are driving this on the track for any length of time, you will kill that battery, and run the battery down to its hard limits where it won't let you pull any more power from it no matter what. So that means ALL your power has to come from the generator, which is only capable of supplying 47 HP.
        • 5 Years Ago
        But isn't the generator only used for recharging the battery? Maybe it'll recharge the battery while it's being used or something.

        I see your point, but I am sure that Lotus knows what they're doing so it shouldn't be a problem. All their cars have been more at home on the track than on the road. Although I suppose the Evora isn't like that, but it still is great on the track
        • 5 Years Ago
        i think joe has a good point but i really think you are overestimating what percentage of the time you have your foot planted on some racetracks, and don't forget that the generator is supplemented by the brake regen, you get to use a significant chunk of the energy again

        but it is obviously going to come up in an enduro situation
        • 5 Years Ago
        Equal or be less than power in*
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, this is not really suitable for track use in this form, stock. Let's face it, neither is a stock Evora - though a gas Evora would be pretty close once you change tires and brake pads.

        The 17kwhr battery would be fully depleted after about 12-15 miles on track (1200-1500 whr/mile - see http://www.proev.com/RRptPgs/R070004h.htm). More likely than not, the motors or the battery would kick into a lower-performance mode once they begin to overheat, since the car is not specced for track duty and likely has not been tested extensively on track.

        However, the car would be fine for drag races or autocross events. The battery alone would be good for 50 quarter mile passes or 20 runs on a typical autocross course, but during the "off" time it could easily top off the battery with the onboard generator.

        A longer, endurance-style event would either require a pure EV with a larger battery pack (tesla roadster, 25-35 mile course) or a more powerful generator (2.0 turbo ecotec in fisker karma, perhaps - and how long do you think that'll last at max rpm / 260 hp?). Either way, the battery is going to be severely abused and would suffer accelerated wear.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The issue is conservation of energy. Power out has to equal power in. So, assuming your battery buffer is gone, the power going to the motor can't be more than the power going to the generator. If the engine can only supply 47 hp to the generator, the generator can supply at most 47 hp to the motor.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, even at the track a buffer exists--you won't be WOT all the time, and it recuperates energy from regenerative braking (energy that would otherwise have been wasted in a non-hybrid vehicle). Should be sufficient for all but the most extreme cases (say, uh, going for long periods at a very high speed to generate sufficient wind resistance; which is not a traditional goal of a Lotus car anyways).

        Plus, you have to stop fixating on the horsepower number--it's less relevant because it's hooked up to a generator, not a drivetrain (which has mechanical loss). The number you need is the Wh/kWh rating of the motor/generator pair.

        I've enough confidence in Lotus engineering to count on the fact that they've worked out potential issues like this.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I am impressed, can't wait to see this thing run.
      • 5 Years Ago
      GM better watch out, they won't have a monopoly on extended-range EVs for very long.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would be more impressed if I hadn't arrived at this exact same configuration as an uneducated teenager in the early 90's.

      What took so freaking long?

      Next they'll ditch the pistons for a turbine, and roll on three wheels the way god intended.
      Just sayin'

        • 5 Years Ago
        The batteries, that's what took so long. The turbine seems like a good choice to me as well, hope somebody will try to pull it off.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wonder if you'd be able to load your own sounds onto it.
      It'd be funny to make it sound like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VXEDUVkbt8
      • 5 Years Ago
      This seems like a totally cool car.

      I agree with what people are saying about the average power output, even taking into account regenerative braking etc, to be insufficient to drive really really fast for long periods of time. Consider motorway driving. How fast can you cruise with that amount of horsepower? Is it enough to do 80mph?

      That said, I imagine it's more than enough for normal driving, where you obey the speed limit, but like getting there really quickly. Also, I imagine people could tune the ICE to get more power from it, or swap it for something bigger. There's a lot of empty space under that glass. :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      hybrid sportscar done right? yes. i'll take four. honda, please give lotus a call.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ToniCipriani - not really. talk to the engineers at lotus. i managed to reach one at the la auto show this year, they're very proud of their modular platform, and how well it performs. variables like hybrid drive are reasonably outside their control, but the platform, chassis, etc, all lotus. So they're very proud of the scalability of the platform in general and the ability to produce a platform so light that adding hybrid drive does little to reduce performance.

        in the case of this car, it betters it by a second to sixty. also, as lotus has mentioned, components were properly arranged to provide optimal weight distribution. great platform, incredibly sexy car, better performance and better economy, not to shabby. in a post cayenne world I thought most of us understood all our favorite pet car companies need to diversify to survive and continue offering the core we love, especially one without the funding to develop their own powerplants.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Lotus F-ing rules. I'm so impressed with that company. They just don't make anything that isn't ridiculously good. Lightweight, efficient, visceral machines. Colin Chapman's trademark qualities have reached their cultural zenith.

        Now, if only we could get a small sport sedan with this powertrain, a la the legendary Lotus Ford Cortina. The resurrection of greatness is nigh...
        • 5 Years Ago

        My thoughts exactly! This is the first time I'm actually excited about an electric sport car. Well done Lotus!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Good balance, but what about overall weight? How does it compare to a regular Evora? A heavy Lotus kind of defeats the purpose of a Lotus.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hell yeah! too bad Honda puts all their money in silly looking mobility vehicles & hydrogen. I doubt Lotus would sell to Honda though!

        One motor per wheel means for good weight balance and simple LSD/Traction control/etc. Very cool. I hope this makes it to production! Major kudos to Lotus :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        one diff can never provide the versatility and control you get with two INDEPENDENT sources of torque and a bit of software programming. And removing the transmission sure saves a lot of weight and space. The thing is as big as a 4 cylinder engine, probably weighs as much too. Really hope they put this in production very soon, this and the electric Jaguar XJ (also powered by a lotus engine) are the two most exciting hybrids to be announced recently.
        • 5 Years Ago
        i would have guessed that 1 motor with with a diff would work better than 2 motors, just seems like a lot more parts
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is the first hybrid or electric vehicle I would ever consider buying. Way to show how it's done, Lotus.

      I would wonder whether the battery pack could keep up with track use, and how long a recharge one would need between 20 minute sessions...
      • 5 Years Ago
      This concept shows the direction to head for in the near future, regardless of car type. The fact that it's a sports car only adds to the appeal.
      The challenge, obviously, is to make all the awesome gizmos work well: Imagine if the engine sound were "a la carte": V12 Aston? 427 Ford racing V8? ¡Yes, please, and make it 90 decibels!
      In terms of drawbacks, the only one that I see so far is that the battery-only range is perhaps a little limited, especially since it will be shorter in "spirited driving".
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Imagine if the engine sound were "a la carte": V12 Aston?"

        Considering this hybrid is faster than any aston with a v12, i'll be alright with whatever noise it makes stock.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They have something for posers like that - it's called a VroomBox ;)

        I was going to say "google it," but I just did... looks like the site has been taken down and one of those spam pages put in its place. Avast also did not approve with a "threat detected" popup.
      • 5 Years Ago
      NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lotus, its ok, you don't have go the hybrid route. Artificial sound?!!!! NOOOOOOO!!!!!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        It if has Blade Runner car sounds, I'm good.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Knees jerking high enough?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Its amazing that a relatively small company like Lotus can pull a trump card like this. GM has amazing resources and yet the Lotus system seems more advanced. If lotus could sell this technology and engine cheaply, it would be perfect for an urban runabout.
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