The legendary designer of spot-on sportscars, Group Lotus plc, called upon its talented automotive consultancy division, Lotus Engineering, to create a new Range Extender engine aimed at snaring it a chunk of what it feels will be a growing future market segment. Developed specifically for use with series hybrid designs, Lotus claims this 1.2-liter/three-cylinder offers significant advantages in cost, packaging and overall operating efficiencies that don't exist for conventional engines that must be adapted -- and thereby compromised -- for this type of duty. The all-aluminum engine features monoblock architecture that integrates the block/head/exhaust manifold into a single casting. It also uses optimized port injection, two-valves per cylinder and a single overhead camshaft, a formula that cut a component count and trims weight to a mere 56 kilograms (123 pounds), including its attached high-efficiency generator unit that puts out 15 kilowatts (20 horsepower) at 1,500 rpm and 35 kilowatts (47 horsepower) at 3,500 rpm. In keeping with the firm's ongoing research into alternative fuels, the new Range Extender engine also capable of running on methanol, ethanol or premium unleaded gasoline.