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Lotus Engineering gets $2m from California for lightweight vehicle study

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Lotus Engineering gets $2m from California for lightweight vehicle study

by Autoblog Staff (RSS feed) on Sep 9th 2010 at 10:31AM

Since the earliest days of Lotus, founder Colin Chapman lived by the philosophy of "Simplicate and add lightness." Over the last 60 years, that has manifested in cars from the Seven and Elan to the Elise and Evora. We can look for more of the same from the company, now that the California Air Resources Board has awarded Lotus Engineering a $2 million grant to conduct a study into future lightweight vehicles.

The new study is a follow-up to an earlier program that saw Lotus build a prototype vehicle capable of being built in volumes of 50,000 units a year. The mass of this earlier vehicle was slashed by 38 percent while the cost was only increased by 3 percent. More importantly, fuel consumption of the lightweight vehicle would be reduced by 23 percent. Unlike many lightweight concepts constructed from carbon fiber, the Lotus-designed vehicle was built mainly from more conventional materials like aluminum, magnesium and high-strength steels.

The goal of the new program, due to be completed by April 2011 and led by the Lotus Engineering office in Ann Arbor, MI, will be to demonstrate that the lightweight vehicle can meet all U.S. crash standards. If anyone can do it, we think Lotus has a shot.



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