In a recent interview with British magazine Auto Express, Lotus Group Chief Executive Officer Dany Bahar provided some info about the Lotus City Car, stating that the model will boast better performance figures than its direct competitors from Audi, BMW and Mini. According to Bahar, “There’s no point in trying to fight the MINIs, and the small BMWs and Audis unless you have a special offering. Our car will be an EV or range extended EV and will offer performance of no other small car“. This statement doesn’t say much about the immediate future of the model, but makes it clear that the British manufacturer is firmly committed to this project.
The Lotus City Car was firstly introduced to the public at the 2010 Paris Auto Show as a concept car, weighing in at 1,400 kg and powered by a rear-mounted electric engine delivering an output of 220 hp with 240 Nm of maximum torque. The final production model should be pretty similar to that concept and is expected to make its debut on the market in 2015 with a price tag of about 35,000 € (45,000$ - 29,000£). Although the car will initially be introduced as a Proton model, Mr.Bahar confirmed that it will be easily switchable to its Lotus version, a conversion that will justify in full the inflated price tag over the Proton-badged model.
The City Car concept was equipped with lithium batteries providing it with 60 km of range, but Lotus also added a range extender in the form of a 1.2-litre 3-cylindre bioethanol engine delivering 34 kW (46 hp) which boosts the autonomy of the vehicle up to 500 km (310 mph). As for the performance, the carmaker claimed a 0-50 km/h (31 mph) sprint time of 4,5 seconds, a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint time of 9 seconds flat and a top speed of 170 km/h, with a CO2 emission level of 60 g/km. Click on the ‘Continue Reading’ link below to find out about the upcoming ‘Esprit’.
Mr.Bahar also confirmed that Lotus is on schedule with its ambitious five-year plan, carrying on the development of its sports range (namely Elan, Elite, Elise and Eterne models) and with a new Esprit set to make its debut in March 2013 at the Geneva Motor Show and enter into production four months after that. Bahar stated that the basic version of this car will use an hybrid powertrain, but it is quite likely that he most performance-oriented versions of the Esprit will ditch the hybrid technology in favour of lighter and more powerful traditional configurations.
On a side note, Bahar confirmed that he recently signed a contract that will have him staying at Lotus until 2015. Apparently, his deal was struck when Proton’s MD and HR Director visited Lotus for their staff Christmas party.