Four passengers (or two with luggage), a baseline range of 31 miles that’s expandable with additional batteries and a top speed of 65 mph.
Keith Barry - WIRED
reminds me of a Smart, but has some interesting ideas --Ed.
When the folks at Automotive Engineer magazine sought a lightweight, versatile electric car concept, they looked no further than Lotus for their nearly spiritual devotion to automotive parsimony.
Within a month, according to AE Editor Tristan Honeywill, the folks at Lotus Engineering developed a detailed concept that was at once radical and down to earth: Four passengers (or two with luggage), a baseline range of 31 miles that’s expandable with additional batteries and a top speed of 65 mph. Honeywill told Autopia that the concept represents a shift in thinking from “range anxiety” to “range awareness” — detailed in a recent AE article (PDF).
The car certainly looks cool, but it’s the underlying philosophy that draws our attention. Instead of creating a car that could be all things to all drivers, Lotus’ unnamed concept asks drivers to be aware of their needs and choose the right tool for the right job. After all, Honeywill noted, “many households have more than one car.”
The design team’s philosophy remains underpinned by solid engineering. Sliding doors, rear-wheel drive and a tight turning radius allow for easy parking. The driver’s seat slides flat in order to improve access for rear passengers. All the electronics are underneath the passenger compartment to keep a low center of gravity and high visibility, while in-car entertainment that relies on a Bluetooth connection to an existing iPod or Blackberry eliminates wiring harnesses and control panels.
The crash structure doubles as an air intake for the air-cooled batteries, and the bonded aluminum lower structure would be versatile enough to accomodate anything from a spartan pickup to a luxury city cruiser. “The idea is like the way Volkswagen got the camper van, the Karmann Ghia and the Type 4 sedan and estate all from the same piece of engineering,” vehicle architect Richard Rackham told AE. In his vision for the car, the lower structure and roll cage could be “flat packed” and shipped so that various body styles could be assembled locally. In such a case, Lotus’ involvement would be strictly “behind the scenes.”... [Read More]