Lotus hasn’t seen a great share of luck in recent years, but in the past few weeks, its luck has taken a slight turn for the better. First came INDYCAR’s approval of desired changes to its IRL engines. Now Lotus is now extending this run of decent luck a little more by announcing that its running prototype for the Evopra 414E hybrid is ahead of schedule and ready for dynamic testing.
Lotus first unveiled the prototype at Geneva in 2010, but it was just that, a prototype. It had no engine or motor driving it; it was essentially just a shell. No one in the automotive world expected anything from Lotus in the next year or so, as it seeks a new CEO, fights a rumored lawsuit from its former CEO, and attempts to right this sinking shop.
It looks like we were all wrong, as Lotus just sent out a press release detailing all of the Evora 414E’s main specifications. So, we did what we do best and used our speculative abilities to put together a review for you to use to make an educated shopping decision, if you are lucky enough to be in the market for this type of car.
Click past the jump to read our full review.
On the outside, the Evora 414E looks just like your typical Evora sports car by Lotus. Its low nose and shallow-raked windshield provide low drag to help it cut through the air better. Up front you get a set of sharply angled headlights that will likely house LED bulbs to avoid excessive power draw.
The roofline swoops downward until it meets the rear of the vehicle, giving it that supercar fastback appearance. The rear fenders bulge outward to help push air away from the rear of the car, lowering its rear drag. Above each rear fender is an intake, which not only looks sweet, but also helps to keep the gasoline engine cool.
A high beltline and sharp bodylines continue to round out the entire design of the Evora, giving that special supercar look.
The exact specifics on the production Evora 414E are still unknown, but the original concept from 2010 provided us a good look. We will update you with official exterior details as they become available.
Interior details on the Lotus Evora 414E are still scarce. The concept from 2010 boasts a two-toned interior wrapped in full leather. There is what looks to be about an 8-inch LCD screen in the center of the dashboard, which will obviously monitor the battery power and usage. Behind the typical flat-bottomed Lotus racing steering wheel are a set of paddle shifters.
The 2010 Concept also had a glass rooftop, so we assume the production model will as well.
As with the exterior, Lotus has not given us too much information on the interior of the car, so we will release that information once we get it.
The drivetrain on the Evora 414E is by far the most interesting part. First and foremost, its main driving power comes from a pair of electric motors powering the rear wheels. In the literal sense, the Lotus 414E is an electric vehicle, but it is classified as a Hybrid since it does have a range-extender engine. This engine is a 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine that can also run on methanol and ethanol gasoline.
The gasoline engine does not directly power the wheels. It rather provides an electric charge to the car’s batteries when the power gets low. According to Lotus, the 414E can travel up to 30 miles on just the electric motors alone. A neat feature is that under hard acceleration that would drain the battery on a typical EV, the Evora 414E activates the range extender motor to avoid draining its battery.
The two electric motors produce an impressive 408 horsepower, but the most impressive figure is its 738 pound-feet of torque specification. Given this is an EV, that torque is likely available at will, which can make driving it either an exhilarating or a horrific experience, depending on you tolerance for G-force.
The two electric motors connect to a single-speed transmission, but there is a weird twist to this transmission. To help make the 414E feel more like a gasoline powered car, Lotus fitted it with paddle shifters that allow the driver to shift between seven gears. In reality, these “gears” are simply adjustments of the electric motor’s torque to make it feel like a gear shifted.
Adding to the reality of the driving experience, Lotus is fitting the 414E with a sound synthesizer that releases gasoline engine sounds both inside and outside. This is one car you’ll never hear us complain about having engine sound synthesis, as this one needs it.
The motors and transmissions combine to get this EV to 60 mpg in less than four seconds. The 414E also can hit a top speed of 130 mph, while only emitting 55 grams of Co2 per km.
There is no pricing available yet, but the Evora runs about $64,000 as a gasoline model. A safe estimate on the actual hybrid price would be somewhere in the $100,000 range, plus battery rental.
There is only one production car that comes to mind when we think of the 414E, and that is the Tesla Roadster. The biggest difference is that the 414E still requires some gasoline, whereas the Roaster requires absolutely no gasoline.
The Tesla Roadster has always received very mixed reviews. With its 245-mile range on a single charge, only 3.5 hours to charge and a 3.7- t0 3.9-second 0 to 60 mph time bring it rave reviews. As does its precision handling and super quiet operation.
On the opposite side of the fence, the Tesla is often snubbed due to its extremely cramped cabin that leaves you shoulder-to-shoulder with your passenger. It has also received some ridicule for its $128,500 price tag without many features to speak of, which include: 17-inch aluminum rims, leather or microfiber seats, carbon fiber body accents, carbon fiber hard top, navigation HD radio and heated seats. For a $20,000 car, that would be great, but not a $120,000+ car.
On the outside, the Tesla Roadster is sexy, yet dated, as it is based on the equally dated Lotus Elise.
The Evora 414E is, of course based on the Evora Coupe, and the Evora Coupe’s interior has always good reviews when compared to its smaller Lotus counterparts, Elise included. This means that the Evora 414E’s interior will not only be more comfortable than the Tesla Roadster, but better equipped too. The Roadster and Evora 414E both accelerate to 60 mph in su-4-second spurts. Thought the Roadster’s top speed is not provided, we suspect that it is about 15 mph less than the Evora 414E’s 200 mph range.
Where the 414E loses out is the fact that it still has a dependency on gasoline. Granted, we are sure it is not a big amount, but it is still requires. It is safe to assume that with a responsible foot, this 414E should get roughly 60 to 70 mpg. So, the thing to decide is can you live with still having a dependency on gasoline.
Unless you live in an area where there are fast charging stations (see: California), you are severely limited by the Tesla’s 245-mile range. Yes, that is not much shorter than the average tank of gas, but it only take 5 minutes to top off your fuel tank, whereas it takes 3.5 hours to “refill” the Lotus.
With that said, we recommend waiting to hear what the EPA rates the Lotus Evora 414E at before making a purchasing decision. If it gets near the 93 mpg that the Chevy Volt gets and still provides excellent fuel mileage, than it is the better buy. Even if it dips into the 75 mpg range, it is still a better buy than the Tesla Roadster.
We are willing to put a dollar on the fact that the 414E comes in around that optimal 90 mpg range.
So let’s all hold off until the EPA finally gets some official rating on the Lotus Evora.
Awesome styling of the Evora
over 700 pound-feet of torque
Still relies on gas
No mpg estimates
No pricing details
Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid – it’s now a runner
Ahead of schedule, Lotus’ new Evora 414E Range Extender Hybrid Electric Vehicle (REEV) has started its dynamic and durability testing at the Lotus HQ in Hethel, Norfolk.
Ÿ 1000 Nm (738 lbft) of Torque
Ÿ 414 PS (408 hp)
Ÿ 0-60 mph / 97 km/h in around 4 seconds
Ÿ Top speed 130 mph (209 km/h)
Ÿ Target emissions of just 55 g CO2 / km (NEDC)
Brimming with innovation, technology, performance and power, the Lotus Evora 414E is a series hybrid technology demonstrator which shows some of the headline technologies that Lotus Engineering, one of the world’ s leading automotive engineering consultancies, has within its portfolio.
The Evora 414E is powered by two electric motor packs driving the rear wheels through its Xtrac transmission with a battery pack that can be charged by the Lotus range extender engine or directly from mains electricity. The Lotus 3 cylinder range extender engine has been design protected to run on either gasoline or renewable bio alcohol fuels (methanol and ethanol). It drives an EVO electric generator which produces electrical energy to either charge the battery pack or power the EVO traction motors directly. In normal driving, the Evora 414E will run purely on electricity stored in the battery pack for up to 30 miles (48 km). With the Lotus range extender and the electric traction motors powering the vehicle through an Xtrac 1092 transmission, the Evora 414E is targeted to produce just 55 g of CO2 / km emissions on the Northern European Driving Cycle (NEDC).
Should the driver require more performance, under hard acceleration, for example, the electricity will come from both the battery storage and the small range extender engine.
It’s all Torque
Now that the car is undergoing testing, what does 1000 Nm in an Evora feel like?
Simon Corbett, Principal Vehicle Dynamics Test and Development Engineer at Lotus Engineering, has been doing the majority of the development testing, over the last few weeks, “The Evora S has 400 Nm of torque which in such a lightweight car is already a healthy figure. But the Evora 414E has two and a half times that amount! The acceleration sensation is almost indescribable, the surge of torque is like an ocean wave!”
See under the skin of the Evora 414E at the Goodwood Festival of Speed
As part of the REEVolution consortium, funded by the government’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, Lotus will show a cutaway version of the Evora 414E, with the addition of regenerative braking, HALOsonic and realistic 7 speed paddle shift technologies at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, giving an unusual insight into this pioneering vehicle.
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Group Lotus plc, is based in Norfolk, UK, and has three operating divisions: Lotus Cars, Lotus Engineering and Lotus Racing.
Lotus Cars builds world class, high performance sports cars including the award-winning Evora, the iconic Elise and the stunning Exige. Lotus New Era, the future product line-up, was unveiled in Paris on 30th September 2010 featuring the new Esprit, Elan, Elite, Elise and Eterne.
Lotus Engineering provides comprehensive and versatile consultancy services to many of the world’s OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers and is an internationally recognised automotive engineering consultancy. Global facilities include those in the US, Malaysia, China and offices in Germany and Japan. Lotus is a global high-tech company, committed to driving forward technology for both Lotus Cars and its Engineering clients, spearheading research into such areas as hybrids, electric vehicles and renewable fuels.
Lotus Racing (formerly Lotus Motorsport) operates the motorsports activities of Lotus and includes the strategy to return the Lotus name to a great number of series including endurance racing with GT2, GT4 and LMP2, single seater racing with GP2, GP3 and IndyCar. Lotus also competes in Formula 1 with the Lotus F1 Team, racing in the iconic Black and Gold livery.
About the REEVolution consortium
Evolution of REEV Technologies Building a UK Supply Base is a collaborative R&D project funded by the Technology Strategy Board that is creating new high performance Range Extended Electric Vehicles (REEV) and Plug-in Hybrids Electric Vehicles (PHEV). Three new demonstrator vehicles will showcase innovative new technologies. The cars combine and build on the skills of all of the businesses involved. The driving force behind this is to build a UK supply chain for new ultra low carbon vehicle technologies and position suppliers so that they can exploit the global market. The REEVolution consortium, led by Jaguar Land Rover, consists of: Axeon Technologies Ltd, EVO Electric Ltd and Xtrac Limited; and three vehicle manufacturers: Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus and Nissan Motor Company Ltd. for INFINITI brand.