A "high-performance technology demonstrator" for now, the Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid Concept dramatically displays the kind of real-world potential that lies within extended-range plug-in electric vehicles. Beyond its scintillating sub-four second 0-60 mph capability, this ultra-efficient Evora variant also embodies a number of technological enhancements along with its unique cosmetic touches.
The Evora's E-REV powertrain consists of a pair of electric motor/generators -- one at each rear wheel -- and a Lotus-designed 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine that makes 47 horses and can burn either gasoline or alcohol-based biofuels. Weighing a scant 187 pounds, it's the same unit used in the Giugiaro-Proton Concept also on display in Geneva. Each motor makes 204 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque and is directly energized by an advanced 17 kilowatt-hour lithium-polymer battery pack. Like the Chevrolet Volt, the engine in the Evora 414E is used soley for on-the-fly recharging duties.
Power from the motors gets routed through a single-speed transmission that incorporates torque-vectoring circuitry to optimize the output to each wheel in a way that enhances the Evora 414E Hybrid's overall dynamic stability. Lotus Engineering also developed a new sports mode for the gearbox that can electronically simulate a seven-speed paddle-shifted transmission -- complete with the ability to control deceleration by simulating virtual downshifts while still making full use of the available regenerative-braking forces to pump charge back into the battery.
To further engage its driver, the Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid also is fitted with the HALOsonic suite of "noise solutions." Developed by Lotus Engineering and Harman International, it uses the car's audio system to generate a quartet of pseudo engine exhaust notes inside the cabin, including a conventional V6 and V12 as well as "futuristic" sound and a combination of the two. It also features front- and rear-mounted exterior speakers that generate a sonic warning to pedestrians.
Setting it apart from a standard Evora, the 414E Hybrid Concept is done in satin-finish copper paint and crowned with a unique glazed roof panel/transparent engine bay cover -- complete with a nifty graphic that recreates the look of a printed circuit board. Carbon-grey forged alloy wheels and copper-color brake calipers round out the look. That copper motif carries over inside as well, in the form of dash and seat accents that complement the Evora's standard leather and Alcantara trim.