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Lotus Cars

Lotus final assembly
Lotus final assembly
Lotus Cars is a British manufacturer of sports and racing cars based at the former site of RAF Hethel, a World War II airfield in Norfolk. The company designs and builds race and production automobiles of light weight and fine handling characteristics.[1] It also owns the engineering consultancy Lotus Engineering, which has facilities in the United Kingdom, United States, Malaysia and China.

Lotus is owned by Proton, which acquired it following the bankruptcy of former owner Romano Artioli in 1994.



The company was formed as Lotus Engineering Ltd. by engineer Colin Chapman, a graduate of University College, London, in 1952. The four letters in the middle of the logo stand for the initials of company founder, Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman.

The first factory was in old stables behind the Railway Hotel in Hornsey, North London. Team Lotus, which was split off from Lotus Engineering in 1954, was active and competitive in Formula One racing from 1958 to 1994. The Lotus Group of Companies was formed in 1959. This was made up of Lotus Cars Limited and Lotus Components Limited, which focused on road cars and customer competition car production, respectively. Lotus Components Limited became Lotus Racing Limited in 1971 but the newly renamed entity ceased operation in the same year.[2]

The company moved to a purpose built factory at Cheshunt in 1959[3] and since 1966 the company has occupied a modern factory and road test facility at Hethel, near Wymondham. This site is the former RAF Hethel base and the test track uses sections of the old runway.

Financial troubles, death of Chapman

By 1980, Group Lotus was in serious financial trouble. Production had dropped from 1,200 units per year to a mere 383. The combined reasons were that the world was in the middle of an economic recession, sales in the key United States market had virtually collapsed, and as none of the original model range had been redesigned or replaced the cars were seen as boring and technically behind the times by potential customers.[4]

In early 1982, Chapman came to an agreement with Toyota over an exchange on intelectual property and applied expertise. This initially resulted in Lotus Engineering helping to develop the Mk2 Toyota Supra, also known as the Toyota Celica XX. Secondly it allowed Lotus to launch the new Lotus Excel to replace the aging Lotus Eclat, which using chassis components from the Toyota parts bin enabled the Excel to be sold for 1,109 less than the outgoing Eclat.[4]

Looking to re-enter the North American market, Chapman was approached by young law professor and investment banking consultant, Joe Bianco, who proposed a new and separate United States sales company for Lotus. By creating an unprecedented tax-incentived mechanism (wherein each investor received a specially personalized Lotus Turbo Esprit),[5] the new American company, Lotus Performance Cars Inc. (LPCI), was able to provide fresh capital to the Group Lotus in the United Kingdom. Former Ferrari North America general manager John Spiech was brought in to run LPCI, which imported the remarkable Giugiaro-designed Turbo Esprit for the first time. US sales began to quickly jump into triple digits annually.[6]

Chapman died of a heart attack in 1982 at the age of 54, having begun life an innkeeper's son and ended a multi-millionaire industrialist in post-war Britain. At the time of his death, the car maker had built tens of thousands of successful racing and road cars, and won the Formula One World Championship seven times.

At the time of his death, both Chapman and Lotus were linked with the DeLorean Motor Company scandal over the use of UK Government subsidies for the production of the DeLorean DMC-12, for which Lotus had designed the chassis. Chasing large sums of money which had disappeared from the DeLorean company, Lotus was besieged by Inland Revenue inspectors, who imposed an 84 million legal "protective assessment" around the company and all of its assets.[7]

With Group Lotus near bankruptcy in 1983, through an introduction from his friend Mark Thatcher,[7] English accountant and entrepreneur David Wickins, the founder of the worlds largest vehicle remarketing business British Car Auctions, agreed to become the new company chairman.[7] Taking a combined 29% BCA/personal stake in Group Lotus,[8] Wickins negotiated with the Inland Revenue, and then brought in new investors: merchant bank Schroeder-Wagg (14%);[8] Michael Ashcroft, Baron Ashcroft's Bermudan operating company Benor (14%);[9] Sir Anthony Bamford of JCB (12%).[8] Wickins oversaw a complete turnaround in the companies fortunes, which resulted in him being called "The saviour of Lotus".[7][10]

International ownership

However, although having employed designer Peter Stevens to revamp the range and design two new concept cars, by 1985 the British investors recognised that they lacked the required capital to invest in the required new model development to production, and sought to find a major motor manufacturing buyer.[8] In January 1986, Wickins oversaw the majority sale of the Group Lotus companies and 100% of North American based LPCI to General Motors, with engineer Bob Eaton a big Lotus car fan.[8] After four months of controlling but co-owning Group Lotus with Toyota, the Japanese company sold out to GM. By October 1986, GM had acquired a 91% stake in Group Lotus for 22.7 million, which allowed them to legally force the company buyout.[8]

On 27 August 1993, GM sold the company, for 30 million, to A.C.B.N. Holdings S.A. of Luxembourg, a company controlled by Italian businessman Romano Artioli, who also owned Bugatti Automobili SpA. In 1996, a majority share in Lotus was sold to Proton, a Malaysian car company listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.


Presently organised as Group Lotus plc, it is divided into Lotus Cars and Lotus Engineering.

As well as sports car manufacture, the company also acts as an engineering consultancy, providing engineering development particularly of suspension for other car manufacturers. Lotus' powertrain department is responsible for the design and development of the 4-cylinder Ecotec engine found in many of GM's Vauxhall, Opel, Saab, Chevrolet and Saturn cars. Today, the current Lotus Elise and Exige models use the 1.8L VVTL-i I4 from Toyota's late Celica GT-S and the Matrix XRS.

Michael Kimberley took over as Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Company and its Group from May 2006. He chaired the Executive Committee of Lotus Group International Limited ("LGIL") established in February 2006, with Syed Zainal Abidin (Managing Director of Proton Holdings Berhad) and Badrul Feisal (non-executive director of Proton Holdings Berhad). LGIL is the holding company of Lotus Group Plc.

Kimberley retired as CEO on 17 July 2009,[11] replaced on 1 October 2009 by the former Senior Vice President for Commercial & Brand at Ferrari, Dany Bahar. Bahar intended to drive the brand up-market in to the expanding global luxury goods sector, effectively away from the companies traditional light weight and pure driving experience simplicity.

Bahar was suspended as CEO on 25 May 2012 on a temporary basis, while an investigation into his conduct was undertaken.[12] Lotus announced on 7 June 2012 the termination of Bahar's employment, and the appointment of Aslam Farikullah as the new Chief Operating Officer.[13]

Formula One

Lotus 77
Lotus 77
Lotus 99T
Lotus 99T
Lotus 72
Lotus 72
The company encouraged its customers to race its cars, and entered Formula One through its sister company Team Lotus in 1958. A Lotus Formula One car driven by Stirling Moss won the marque's first Grand Prix in 1960 at Monaco in a Lotus 18 entered by privateer Rob Walker. Major success came in 1963 with the Lotus 25, which with Jim Clark driving won Lotus its first F1 World Constructors Championship. Clark's untimely death he crashed a Formula Two Lotus 48 in April 1968 after his rear tyre failed in a turn in Hockenheim was a severe blow to the team and to Formula One. He was the dominant driver in the dominant car and remains an inseparable part of Lotus' early years. That year's championship was won by Clark's teammate, Graham Hill.

Lotus is credited with making the mid-engined layout popular for IndyCars, developing the first monocoque Formula One chassis, and the integration of the engine and transaxle as chassis components. Lotus was also among the pioneers in Formula One in adding wings and shaping the undersurface of the car to create downforce, as well as the first to move radiators to the sides in the car to aid in aerodynamic performance, and inventing active suspension.

Even after Chapman's death, until the late 1980s, Lotus continued to be a major player in Formula One. Ayrton Senna drove for the team from 1985 to 1987, winning twice in each year and achieving 17 pole positions. However, by the company's last Formula One race in 1994, the cars were no longer competitive. Lotus won a total of 79 Grand Prix races. During his lifetime Chapman saw Lotus beat Ferrari as the first team to achieve 50 Grand Prix victories, despite Ferrari having won their first nine years sooner.

Formula One Constructors' Championships (Drivers' Championship winner for Lotus)

Team Lotus established Classic Team Lotus in 1992, as the Works historic motorsport activity. Classic Team Lotus continues to maintain Lotus F1 cars and run them in the FIA Historic Formula One Championship and it preserves the Team Lotus archive and Works Collection of cars, under the management of Colin Chapman s son, Clive.

Team Lotus' participation in Formula One ended at the end of the 1994 season.

The Lotus name returned to Formula One for the 2010 season, when a new Malaysian team called Lotus Racing, using the Lotus name on licence from Group Lotus, was awarded an entry. The new team was unrelated to the previous incarnation of Team Lotus when it was first founded, although it was funded by a Malaysian Consortium including Proton (the owner of Lotus Cars). After a dispute between the two parties (Lotus Racing and Proton), Group Lotus, with agreement from their parent company Proton, terminated the licence for future seasons as a result of what it called "flagrant and persistent breaches of the licence by the team". Lotus Racing then announced that they had acquired Team Lotus Ventures Ltd, the company led by David Hunt since 1994, during which Team Lotus had stopped competing in Formula One, and with it full ownership of the rights of the Team Lotus brand and heritage. The team confirmed that they would be known as Team Lotus from 2011 onwards.

In December 2010 Group Lotus (Proton) announced the creation of "Lotus Renault GP", the successor to the Renault F1 team, that contested the 2011 season having purchased a title sponsorship deal with the team with the option to buy shares in the future. The team's cars continued to be called "Renaults", up against the Team Lotus cars which were known as "Lotus". For , "Lotus Renault GP" has been rebranded as "Lotus F1 Team" and their cars will be known as "Lotus", whereas the former Team Lotus has been renamed Caterham F1 Team and their cars will be known as "Caterhams".

Group Lotus is currently also involved in several other categories of motorsport. It sponsors the ART team in the GP2 and GP3 Series, and the KV team in the IndyCar Series. In 2011, Lotus also returned to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a semi-works effort run by Jetalliance Racing, which fielded two Lotus Evoras. In 2012 they will partner with Engine Developments LTD/John Judd to build a 2.2 Liter Twin Turbocharged V-6 Engine to be used in the Izod Indycar Series.

Lotus car models

The Lotus Elise
The Lotus Elise
Lotus Evora
Lotus Evora
Current Lotus models include:

  • Lotus Elise: The Elise started in 1996 and weighed . The current model starts at and incorporates some engineering innovations, such as an aluminium extrusion frame and a composite body shell. The Elise has also spawned several racing variants, including a limited series called the 340R, which has an open-body design echoing the old Seven. The Elise was introduced into the U.S., with a Toyota engine, in order to pass strict U.S. emissions laws. The 1ZZ & 2ZZ Toyota engines used have a Lotus ECU with their own fuel mapping. The supercharged Lotus SC and limited edition Jim Clark Type 25 Elise editions add a new performance dimension to the Elise range. 0 60 mph acceleration is in 4.3 seconds and 0 100 km/h in 4.6 seconds.
  • Lotus Exige: A version of the Elise with a redesigned body to provide additional downforce (100 lb at 100 mph).[15] Additionally, the following Elise Sport Pack and Hardtop options are standard on the Exige. The car is street legal and the base 2006 model was available in the USA for $50,990.[16] Lotus updated the Exige with the supercharged Exige S in 2007.
  • Lotus Evora Launched 22 July 2008. Code named Project Eagle during development. A 2+2 sports car with a mid-mounted, transverse 3.5-litre V6 engine. Lotus will provide the Evora S Model (2011) as rapid response vehicles to the Rome and Milan Carabinieri to replace the previous Lamborghini Gallardos. See Lotus webpage
  • Lotus 2-Eleven Weighing just and with the Lotus 2-Eleven can sprint from 0 60 in 3.8 seconds and has a top speed of . Intended as a track day car it costs 39,995 but for an additional 1,100 Lotus will make the car fully road legal.
  • Lotus T125 Exos Track-only Formula 1 inspired car. 3.5l Cosworth V8, 640 bhp; 25 will be built at $1 million each. To run in the 'Exos Experience by Lotus', a club, initiated and operated by Lotus Motorsport, in which a limited number of owner drivers can refine their driving skills and challenge themselves with expert one-to-one advice from former Grand Prix drivers and trainers. Also, previous holder of the fastest Top Gear lap time although it was disqualified for not being able to meet the requirements of getting over a speed bump.


Lotus 1, 1948
Lotus 1, 1948
Lotus Mk 4
Lotus Mk 4
Lotus Mk IX
Lotus Mk IX
Lotus Eleven
Lotus Eleven
Lotus Elite
Lotus Elite
Lotus 26, 1965
Lotus 26, 1965
Lotus Eclat 22
Lotus Eclat 22
Lotus Esprit S4s, 1995
Lotus Esprit S4s, 1995
Lotus GT1 Road Car, 2008
Lotus GT1 Road Car, 2008
Lotus Elise S1
Lotus Elise S1
Lotus 340
Lotus 340

  • Lotus Mark I (1948): Austin 7 based car
  • Lotus Mark II (1949 1950): Ford-powered trials car
  • Lotus Mark III (1951): 750 cc formula car
  • Lotus Mark IV (1952): Trials car
  • Lotus Mark V (1952 2): 750 cc formula car never built
  • Lotus Mark VI (1953 1955): The first "production" racer about 100 built
  • Lotus Seven (1957 1970): Classic open sports car, a minimalist machine designed to manoeuvre a racing circuit and nothing else. The rights to the Seven were sold in 1973 to Caterham Cars, who continue to produce it today. Updated versions of this 1957 design are also produced by other speciality firms, including Westfield Sportscars and Donkervoort. Originally the number seven was applied to a Riley-powered Formula 2 car, but the vehicle was never completed in its original form, finally emerging instead as the Clairmonte Special, a two-seat sports car powered by a Lea-Francis engine.
  • Lotus Mark VIII (1954): sports racer
  • Lotus Mark IX (1955): sports racer, based on Eight
  • Lotus Mark X (1955): sports racer, a more powerful Eight
  • Lotus Eleven (1956 1957): sports racer
  • Lotus 12 (1956 1957): Formula Two and Formula One racecar
  • Lotus 13: Designation not used
  • Lotus 14 (1957 1963): First production street car the Elite
  • Lotus 15 (1958): Sports racer successor to the Eleven
  • Lotus 16 (1958 1959): F1/F2 car based on the Twelve
  • Lotus 17 (1959): Sports racer update of the 15 not successful
  • Lotus 18 (1960 1961): First mid-engined Lotus single seater Formula Junior/F2/F1
  • Lotus 19 (1960 1962): Mid-engined sports racer "Monte Carlo"
  • Lotus 20 (1961): Formula Junior
  • Lotus 21 (1961): Formula One
  • Lotus 22 (1962 1965): Formula Junior/F3
  • Lotus 23 (1962 1966): Small displacement mid-engined sports racer
  • Lotus 24 (1962): Formula One
  • Lotus 25 (1962 1964): Formula One World Champion
  • Lotus 26 (1962 1971): Production street sports car the original Elan.
  • Lotus 27 (1963): Formula Junior
  • Lotus 28 (1963 1966): Lotus version of the Ford Cortina street/racer
  • Lotus 29 (1963): Indy car Ford stock block
  • Lotus 30 (1964): Large displacement sports racer (Ford V8)
  • Lotus 31 (1964 1966): Formula Three space frame racer
  • Lotus 32 (1964 1965): Monocoque F2 and Tasman Cup racer
  • Lotus 33 (1964 1965): Formula One World Champion
  • Lotus 34 (1964): Indy car DOHC Ford
  • Lotus 35 (1965): F2/F3/FB
  • Lotus 36 (1965 1968): Fixed Head Coupe version of the original Elan, so called perhaps to distinguish it from the Type 26 Elan which could be fitted with a removable hard top)
  • Lotus 38 (1965): Indy winning mid-engined car
  • Lotus 39 (1965 1966): Tasman Cup formula car
  • Lotus 40 (1965): Improved(?) version of the 30
  • Lotus 41 (1965 1968): Formula Three, Formula Two, Formula B
  • Lotus 42 (1967): Indy car raced with Ford V8
  • Lotus 43 (1966): Formula One
  • Lotus 44 (1967): Formula Two
  • Lotus 45 (1966 1974): Convertible (Drop Head Coupe), a version of the original Elan with a revised body style, most notable for its permanent side window frames.
  • Lotus 46 (1966 1968): Original Renault-engined Europa
  • Lotus 47 (1966 1970): Racing version of Europa
  • Lotus 48 (1967): Formula Two
  • Lotus 49 (1967 1969): Formula One World Champion
  • Lotus 50 (1967 1974): Four-seat "Elan +2" production car
  • Lotus 51 (1967 1969): Formula Ford
  • Lotus 52 (1968): Prototype "Europa" twincam
  • Lotus 53 (1968): Small displacement sports racer never built
  • Lotus 54 (1968 1970): Series 2 "Europa" production car.
  • Lotus 55 (1968): F3
  • Lotus 56 (1968 1971): Indy turbine wedge/F1 turbine (56B)
  • Lotus 57 (1968): F2 design study
  • Lotus 58 (1968): F1 design study
  • Lotus 59 (1969 1970): F2/F3/Formula Ford
  • Lotus 60 (1970 1973): Greatly modified version of the Seven AKA Seven S4
  • Lotus 61 (1969): Formula Ford wedge
  • Lotus 62 (1969): prototype Europa racer
  • Lotus 63 (1969): 4-wheel drive F1
  • Lotus 64 (1969): 4-wheel drive Indy cars did not compete
  • Lotus 65 (1969 1971): "Federalized" Europa S2
  • Lotus 66: designation not used
  • Lotus 67 (1970): Proposed Tasman Cup car never built
  • Lotus 68 (1969): F5000 prototype
  • Lotus 69 (1970): F2/F3/Formula Ford
  • Lotus 70 (1970): F5000/Formula A
  • Lotus 71: Undisclosed design study
  • Lotus 72 (1970 1972): Formula One World Champion
  • Lotus 73 (1972 1973): F3
  • Lotus 74 (1971 1975): Europa Twin Cam production cars
  • Lotus 75 (1974 1982): Luxury 4-seat GT "Elite II"
  • Lotus 76 (1975 1982): Fastback version of Elite II " clat S1" also 1974 F1
  • Lotus 77 (1976): F1
  • Lotus 78 (1977 1978): F1 ground effects car
  • Lotus 79 (1978 1979): Formula One World Champion also street GT "Esprit" (1975 1980)
  • Lotus 80 (1979): F1
  • Lotus 81 (1980 1981): F1 designation also used for Sunbeam Talbot rally car
  • Lotus 82 (1982 1987): Turbo Esprit street GT car
  • Lotus 83 (1980): Elite series 2
  • Lotus 84 (1980 1982): clat series 2
  • Lotus 85 (1980 1987): Esprit series 3
  • Lotus 86 (1980 1983): F1 dual chassis never raced
  • Lotus 87 (1980 1982): F1
  • Lotus 88 (1981): F1 dual chassis car banned
  • Lotus 89 (1982 1992): Lotus Excel GT re-engineered clat
  • Lotus 90: Unreleased Elan/Toyota
  • Lotus 91 (1982): F1
  • Lotus 92 (1983): F1
  • Lotus 93T (1983): F1 Turbo
  • Lotus 94T (1983): F1 Turbo
  • Lotus 95T (1984): F1 Turbo
  • Lotus 96T (1984): Indy car project abandoned
  • Lotus 97T (1985 1986): F1 Turbo
  • Lotus 98T (1986 1987): F1 Turbo
  • Lotus 99T (1987): F1 Turbo last Lotus F1 winner
  • Lotus 100T (1988): F1 Turbo
  • Lotus Elan (Type M100) (1989 1995): Front-drive convertible Elan.
  • Lotus 101 (1989): F1
  • Lotus 102 (1990 1991): F1
  • Lotus 103 (1990): F1 not produced
  • Lotus 104 (1990 1992): Lotus Carlton: tuned version of the standard Vauxhall saloon.
  • Lotus 105 (1990): Racing X180R IMSA Supercars Drivers Champ Doc Bundy
  • Lotus 106 (1991): X180R roadgoing homologation special
  • Lotus 107 (1992 1994): F1
  • Lotus 108 (1992): a bicycle ridden by Chris Boardman to win a gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, also known as the "LotusSport Pursuit Bicycle".
  • Lotus 109 (1994): F1 Last Lotus F1 car.
  • Lotus 110: Production version of type 108 bicycle
  • Lotus 111: The Lotus Elise
  • Lotus 112: Final partial F1 design, got as far as the monocoque buck
  • Lotus 113: Number not allocated
  • Lotus 114 (1996): Lotus Esprit GT1
  • Lotus 115 (1997 1998): Lotus GT Race Car, AKA Lotus Elise GT1
  • Lotus 116: The Vauxhall VX220 / Opel Speedster, a collaboration with GM
  • Lotus 117: Lotus Elise Mk2
  • Lotus 118: Lotus M250. Two-seater concept car. Unveiled in Autumn of 1999 as a mid-range sports car, project was cancelled in 2001.
  • Lotus 119: Soapbox derby car Light vehicle out of carbon and aluminium, brakes discs, without engine, built for the race of the festival of speed of Goodwood
  • Lotus 120 (1998): Elise V6 code named M120 was never produced
  • Lotus 121 (2006): Europa S
  • Lotus 122: Lotus Evora
  • Lotus 123: Lotus 2-Eleven
  • Lotus 124: Evora Race Car
  • Lotus 125: Exos Ultimate track Car [20]
  • Lotus Excel (1985 1992): Updated Eclat with Toyota running gear. 2,159 Excels were made.
  • Lotus Eclat (1975 1982): Fastback version of the Elite. The rear roof line of the Elite was sloped down into a sporty fastback.
  • Lotus Elite: Describes two cars, one an ultra-light two-seater coup produced from 1957 to 1962, one an angular 3-door hatch with a back bone chassis produced from 1974 to 1982.
  • Lotus Europa (1966 1975): mid-engine sports car.
  • Lotus Esprit: A mid-engined sports car, launched in the early 1970s. It was styled by Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro. The Esprit started with a light, 4-cylinder design, which went through several iterations of turbo-charging and electronic upgrades, before finally being replaced by a highly advanced V8. The last Lotus Esprit rolled off the production line on 20 February 2004, after 28 years in production. A total of 10,675 Esprits were built since production began in 1976.
  • Lotus M250 (2000): Concept car that never reached production
  • Lotus Europa S: The Grand Tourer (GT)-inspired two-seater is claimed to offer a more upmarket sportscar experience, although it is based on the same chassis as the Elise and Exige, limiting accommodation and practicality. Power comes from a Lotus-tuned variant of the turbocharged four-cylinder engine which powers the VX220. The Europa has been criticised in the motoring press for being expensive and for lacking equipment and practicality compared to rivals like the Porsche Cayman.

Announcements of future cars

2013 Lotus Elan. 2013 Lotus Eterne.

At the 2010 Paris Motorshow, Lotus announced five new models to be introduced over the next five years:[21]

  • New Lotus Esprit. Due to be released in 2013, the Esprit will be powered by a 4.8-litre Lotus Performance V8 pressure-charged engine delivering up to , capable of 0 100 km/h in approximately 3.4 seconds.
  • New Lotus Elite. A 2+2 GT with a front-mid positioned 5.0-litre V8 engine delivering up to , capable of 0 100 km/h in approximately 3.7 seconds. Set for release in spring 2014.
  • New Lotus Elise. The replacement for the Lotus Elise is due in 2015 with a 2.0-litre inline 4 pressure-charged engine delivering up to , the Elise 2015 is stated to be capable of 0 100 km/h in under 4.5 seconds.
  • New Lotus Eterne. A four-door, four-seater sports GT with a 5.0-litre pressure-charged V8. Designed as a competitor to the Porsche Panamera, Aston Martin Rapide and Maserati Quattroporte.
  • New Lotus Elan. This was set for release during the second half of 2017, to feature a 4.0-litre V6 pressure-charged engine capable of delivering up to with a weight of . Lotus later postponed the production of the car until 2017, allowing the company to develop the current Evora.[22]

Lotus also showed an unnamed city car concept using its 1.2L range-extender engine.[23] In 2011 Lotus revealed this as the Lotus Ethos, a plug-in hybrid car based on the EMAS concept from its parent company Proton, and likely to be primarily built by Proton in Malaysia.[22]

Lotus engines

Lotus Evora engine

  • Lotus-Ford Twin Cam
  • Lotus 900 series
  • Range Extender Engine. This all-aluminium, monoblock, 1200 cc, three-cylinder, 47 horsepower, four-stroke engine is specifically designed to directly drive an alternator for electricity generation for series-hybrid cars. The engine is small and light at , having three cylinders and no detachable cylinder head. The cylinder head and engine block are all one casting to reduce size, weight and production costs. As the engine does not turn belt driven ancillaries such as alternator, power-steering pump or an air conditioning compressor, the block requires no strong points to accommodate such ancillaries, resulting in a simple and light block. The engine has a reduced parts count for lightness and cheaper production.[24][25]
  • On 18 August 2011 Lotus fired up an all new in-house designed V8 destined for the new era range of cars. At and just long, the unit will be dry sump lubricated to save depth and will feature a 180 flat plane crank. The engine is being utilised as a stressed component, a technique pioneered by Colin Chapman in F1, specifically with the 1967 Type 49. It is expected to be used in the Le Mans LMP2 car in 2012. Expected performance is likely to be in excess of and with a 9,200 rpm redline.[26]

Lotus Engineering

Lotus Engineering Limited, is an offshoot of Lotus Cars, which provides engineering consultancy third party companies primarily in the automotive industry. As well as Hethel in the United Kingdom Lotus has engineering centres in Ann Arbor, USA, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Shanghai, China. In 2000, Lotus Engineering, Inc. was established with an office in Ann Arbor, Michigan.[27]

Engineering demonstrators

  • Lotus Eco Elise is an engineering demonstrator of its classic sports car that incorporates solar panels into a roof made from hemp, while also employing natural materials in the body and interior of the car.
  • Lotus Exige 265E Bio-fuel
  • Lotus Exige 270E Tri-fuel
  • Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid. Shown at the 2010 Geneva Motor show
  • Lotus Concept City Car. Shown at the 2010 Paris motor show.


The APX (also known as the "Aluminium Performance Crossover") is an aluminium concept vehicle revealed at the 2006 Geneva Motor Show built on Lotus Engineering's Versatile Vehicle Architecture (VVA).

Whereas the VVA technology will be used in the creation of a new mid-engined sportscar for Lotus cars, the APX is in fact a high-performance 7-seat MPV with four-wheel drive and a front-mounted V6 engine from Lotus Engineering's Powertrain division. The engine was designed and developed to be available as a 2.2-litre N/A and 3.0-litre supercharged. A number of prototypes of both engines exist in full working order in a number of mule cars.

Versatile Vehicle Architecture (VVA) is an effort by the Lotus car manufacturing company to reduce the investment needed for producing unique, niche-market cars by sharing a number of common components.

Cars produced using VVA:

Projects undertaken by Lotus Engineering

DeLorean DMC 12 with Lotus designed Chassis
DeLorean DMC 12 with Lotus designed Chassis
Sinclair C5
Sinclair C5
Dodge EV
Dodge EV
Examples of work undertaken by Lotus Engineering include:

  • Lotus Talbot Sunbeam Talbot's hot-hatch rally car of the early '80s.
  • DeLorean DMC-12. Changes to the original concept led to considerable schedule pressures. The car was deemed to require almost complete re-engineering, which was turned over to engineer Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus. Lotus replaced most of the unproven material and manufacturing techniques with those then employed by Lotus in the Lotus Esprit.
  • Vauxhall Lotus Carlton (also Opel Lotus Omega, internal name Lotus Type 104) At the time (early 1990s) this was the fastest saloon car available, with a top speed of over 175 mph (280 km/h).
  • The 1991 Dodge Spirit R/T with a version of the 2.2 L K-car engine with a 16-valve DOHC head designed by Lotus with over .
  • Vauxhall VX220 (badged Opel Speedster outside of the UK) Lotus produced and based upon the same aluminium chassis design as the Lotus Elise. Production of these models ended in 2005.
  • Lotus styled and assisted with the engineering of the Tesla Roadster, an electric sports car based on the Elise, as well as licensing some technologies to Tesla Motors and constructing the Roadster at their plant in Hethel.[28]
  • The Aston Martin DB9 chassis was developed with the help of Lotus Engineering.
  • Lotus was responsible for most of the design, development, and testing, of the LT5 DOHC V8 powerplant for the Chevrolet Corvette C4 ZR-1.
  • Lotus designed, developed and tested the GM Ecotec engine and its variants.
  • Lotus was responsible for various aspects of the Sinclair C5 electric tricycle.
  • Lotus was responsible for the suspension calibration of the Toyota MR2 Mk. I, the Toyota Supra Mk. II and Mk. III, the Isuzu Piazza, the Isuzu Impulse as well as newer Proton models.
  • Lotus was responsible for the development of the Campro engine together with Proton,[29] as well as its variable valve timing system, the Cam Profile Switching (CPS). Currently available in the 1.6-litre and 1.3-litre variants, the Campro engine now powers most of Proton's newer models.
  • Lotus has worked on the suspension of the Mahindra Scorpio to make it more stable at high speeds.
  • Lotus produced the revised Chassis of the Isuzu Piazza
  • The Dodge EV concept electric vehicle from Chrysler is based on a Lotus Europa S.
  • Lotus has worked on the suspension and handling of the Nissan GT-R
  • The Hennessey Venom GT is to be based on the Lotus Exige.
  • 2010: Limo-Green project with Jaguar Cars. Lotus provided the Range Extender engine for a prototype XJ series-hybrid car. The car returned 58 mpg (imperial) running off the range extender alone.[30]

Electric vehicles

Lotus Engineering has established a group dedicated to hybrid and electric vehicles.[31]

Lotus plans to enter the electric vehicle race, CEO Michael Kimberley told the Financial Times . "Don t be surprised to see an electric Lotus shortly, he said, adding that a concept version could debut as early as March 2009, at Geneva Motor Show.[32][33] Lotus is now front and center in the electric-car arena.[34]

Lotus did not reveal details about the car or the engine but discloses that it will go for 300 to and it will really live up to the expectations of being one of the best electric cars in the world.[33]

Lotus joined Jaguar Cars, MIRA Ltd and Caparo on a luxury hybrid executive sedan project called "Limo-Green"--funded by the UK Government Technology Strategy Board. The vehicle will be a series plug-in hybrid.[34][35]

Tesla Motors, a likely rival for Lotus if its plans go through, has also turned to contractors for parts of the all-electric Roadster.[32] Of note however, is the fact that Tesla currently obtains the chassis for their Roadster from Lotus as do Dodge for their EV because of the heavy weight of the batteries in an EV and Lotus's widely known low weight and sharp handling characteristics. While only 10% of the parts of the Tesla Roadster are shared with the Lotus Elise, Lotus is responsible for approximately 40% of the overall content of the car.[32]

Queen's Award for Enterprise

Lotus Cars were awarded the Queen's Award for Enterprise for contribution to International Trade, one of 85 companies receiving the recognition in that category in 2002. Lotus cars wore the badge of the award for a number of years.[36]

See also


Further reading

  • G rard ('Jabby') Crombac, Colin Chapman: The Man and His Cars (Patrick Stephens, Wellingborough, 1986)
  • Mike Lawrence, Colin Chapman: The Wayward Genius (Breedon Books, Derby, 2002)
  • Ian H. Smith, The Story of Lotus: 1947 1960 Birth of a Legend (republished Motor Racing Publications, Chiswick, 1972)
  • Doug Nye, The Story of Lotus: 1961 1971 Growth of a Legend (Motor Racing Publications, Chiswick, 1972)
  • Robin Read, Colin Chapman's Lotus: The early years, the Elite and the origins of the Elan (Haynes, Sparkford, 1989)
  • Anthony Pritchard, Lotus: All The Cars (Aston Publications, Bourne End, 1990)
  • Doug Nye, Theme Lotus: 1956 1986 (Motor Racing Publications, Croydon, 1986)
  • William Taylor The Lotus Book (Coterie Press, Luton, 1998, 1999, 2005)
  • William Taylor The Lotus Book Collectibles (Coterie Press, Luton, 2000)
  • Peter Ross, Lotus The Early Years 1951 54 (Coterie Press, Luton, 2004)
  • R my Solnon, ''Lotus Esprit le grand tourisme l'anglaise'' (Editions Les Presses Litt raires, 2007)
  • Andrew Ferguson, Team Lotus: The Indianapolis Years (Haynes Publishing 1996) no longer available

External links

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