Lotus Develops Plug-In Hybrid Powertrain for Microcar Concepts

As General Motors and Bugatti both found, one benefit to owning Group Lotus is the ability to apply the firm’s engineering genius at Hethel for projects other than slinky sports cars. Proton, Lotus’ current corporate parent, is doing just that. When the time came to develop a hybrid powertrain for two new concept microcars, it turned to the folks in Hethel.

What Lotus crafted is, essentially, a smaller version of the extended-range electric driveline that powers the Chevrolet Volt. A small AC electric motor, powered by a large lithium-ion battery pack mounted underneath the vehicle’s floor, drives the rear wheels. When the battery starts to run out of juice, a small 1.2-liter three-cylinder serves as a generator, providing electricity to extend the driving range.

That range, however, hasn’t been discussed quite yet. We expect to learn more about the system and the ItalDesign-styled concepts themselves next week, when they’ll be unwrapped at the 2010 Geneva motor show. Stay with Automobile Magazine for the latest news from the Swiss show.

Source: Proton, Lotus

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