Put away your pitchforks. No decision has been made yet and there's plenty of good Lotus news.
You know a vehicle is going to be something special when you need a pair of goggles to drive it, and this highly customized Lotus lives up to that promise. The owner refers to his one-off as the Ronin RS 211, but underneath that barely there body are a few parts left from a 2005 Lotus Elise.
There's been a proud history of basing electric sports cars off of the Lotus Elise. Its lightweight architecture has formed the basis for the original Tesla Roadster, the PG Elektrus, the Rinspeed sQuba concept, the Zytek Elise prototype and the Dodge Circuit EV show car. But those projects have all come and gone. That run might not be over, though, as the next to raise the flag is Detroit Electric.
Head on over to the Lotus website, and though the Elise isn't offered in the United States anymore, buyers in other markets can choose between numerous models: there's the base Elise, the Elise Club Racer, the Elise S and the Elise S Club Racer, and that's before even getting into the even more extreme Exige that's also based on the Elise. Track-day enthusiasts can also go for the full-on Elise S Cup R, but now the British sportscar manufacturer has confirmed a new variant.
If we had a nickel for every version of the Elise that Lotus has rolled out over the years, we might actually have enough spare change to buy one ourselves. And we're not even talking about the entire separate models (like the Exige and Europa) that Lotus has based on the Elise's platform or the other automakers' cars (like the Tesla Roadster and Hennessey Venom GT) that have used the same. And now Lotus appears to be testing another one.
Lotus is recalling 860 vehicles after discovering that the oil cooler hose could detach from its fitting. Should the hose separate, it could spray oil on one of the lightweight car's tires, giving new meaning to the phrase "sudden loss of grip." The other case is, believe or not, more dire, as the spraying oil could hit the engine and ignite. Of course, neither situation is desirable, hence the recall.
The Lotus Elise has given birth to some seriously fast and varied machinery. Aside from Lotus' own models like the Exige, 2-Eleven, 340R and Europa, electric vehicles like the Tesla Roadster, not to mention the never-released Dodge Circuit and Detroit Electric SP:01, are all based on the Elise's platform. As were/are the Melkus RS 2000, the Opel Speedster/Vauxhall VX220 and the Hennessey Venom GT. But this could be the most extreme use of the lightweight chassis yet.
The world will be a different place after Elon Musk builds a time traveling device (don't ask us how we know that will happen). For one thing, the Tesla Roadster of the rewritten future will not have been built using the chassis of the Lotus Elise. Also, verb tenses will be becoming even more confusing and, possibly, awkward.
It took 1.5 years, but a DRB-Hicom managing director told Malaysia's Business Times that the company has "cleaned up" the situation at Lotus from its finances to its marketing and image. The clean-up job we're most interested in, the product portfolio, will be demonstrated by financial investment in a three-year program of "variants based on existing products - variants with improved technology, improved performance."
Lotus is recalling 451 examples of the Elise and Exige from the 2007 and 2008 model years. The cars in question, built from December 1, 2006 to October 31, 2007 could be affected by an oil cooler line that detaches from its fitting. If the line comes loose it could release oil onto the engine and possibly start a fire, or onto a tire and potentially cause a crash.
"The past four months have been really tough for us," admits Lotus CEO Dany Bahar to Autocar magazine. "We were working at a pace nobody had seen at Lotus for many years," Bahar continued, alluding to the British sports car maker's planned rollout of four models over five years that recently had recently hit the skids thanks to a 60-day financial freeze at Malaysian parent DRB-Hicom. "The shut-down, as I call it," Bahar continued, "was very hard for us," but the Lotus boss forcefully rejects med
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