First Look: 2010 Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid Concept

While it has long been associated with British Racing Green, Lotus seems to be turning a different shade of green these days. After showing us a number of biofuel and eco-friendly Exiges, the automaker teased this image of the Evora 414E, a series hybrid which will debut next week at the 2010 Geneva motor show.

Although its debut is a week away, Lotus has spilled most -- if not all -- of the details ahead of time. The concept car can sprint from 0-60 mph in less than four seconds, and have a range of 300 miles. As for how it'll look, imagine a standard Evora slathered in copper paint: The chassis remains unchanged from 2+2, thanks to the flexibility of Lotus's Versatile Vehicle Architecture.

The 414E name comes from the powertrain's output: 414 metric horsepower (that's 408 horses for us Stateside folk). The power comes from two electric motors -- each delivering 204 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque to an individual rear wheel -- that operate independently through single-speed reduction transmissions, which live in a single housing. The two-motor set up opens a variety of torque vectoring options to Lotus, from supplanting a typical electronic stability system and limited-slip differential, to mimicking a rear-steering system without the extra mechanical components, to correcting understeer and oversteer.

A 47-horsepower, 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine acts as a supplement -- it's called the "Lotus Range Extender. The mill features an aluminum monoblock construction that integrates the block, head, and exhaust manifold in one casting. The construction means the engine is less expensive to produce, smaller, and has a lower (total weight is 187 pounds). Another plus? Its two-valve, port-fuel injection combustion system supports alcohol-based fuels and gasoline.

The Evora 414E can travel 35 miles on battery power alone. After that point, the engine becomes a generator, supplying the motors with electricity and topping off the lithium polymer battery pack that sits in the middle of the chassis. Charging is an overnight affair, and the socket hides under the rear license plate.

Though the Evora hybrid uses single-speed reduction gears, it offers a steering column-mounted shift paddles. Knock the car into sport mode, and the paddles operate like a seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox. Pop an upshift and you'll feel the appropriate jolt through torque modulation at the rear wheels. Pull a downshift and the Evora mimics engine braking appropriate for the gear by adjusting the regeneration levels of the electric motors. Think it's silly? You can turn the simulation off.

But if the Evora hybrid is a driver's car, what about the noise? That's where the sound system comes in. Developed between Lotus and Harman International, the system uses speakers inside the cabin and on the exterior to imitate engine and gear sounds. Four sound options are available to drivers: V-6, V-12, "futuristic," and a combination of conventional engine and futuristic. The result, Lotus says, is a better experience for the driver and a safer experience for pedestrians, who will be able to hear the car zipping down the canyon road.

The exterior and interior wear a copper paintjob, a color Lotus chose because of its relation to electrical systems. The motif carries through the seat strips, instrument panel, and calipers behind the carbon grey forged wheels. You'll also find the requisite amounts of Alcantara throughout the interior.

Check back for our continuing Geneva auto show coverage beginning next week

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