Lotus to Build Prototype with California Money

With the eyes of the automotive world turned towards Paris, where British manufacturer Lotus is expected to bring to life the cars of its future, the state of California has decided to award the carmaker a $2 million grant to develop an efficient, lightweight prototype.

This is the second stage of a design study which started a while back and which focuses on reducing the weight of a car in order to make it more efficient. To be built by the Lotus Engineering office Michigan, the prototype should be ready in April next year.

According to Lotus, the vehicle will use “a mixture of materials best suited to its application including aluminum, magnesium, composites, high strength lightweight steel and plastics.”

The results of the first part of the project revealed that in the case of medium volume vehicles (meaning an output of some 50,000 units a year), a 38 percent reduction in the vehicle's weight can be achieved by adding only 3 percent to the manufacturing cost.

That 3 percent is however balanced and surpassed by the 23 percent reduction in fuel consumption of such a vehicle.

“It is widely recognised in the automotive industry that a reduction in vehicle mass gives more efficient vehicles; with the global drive to reduce emissions, manufacturers are working hard to take mass out their cars,”
Lotus says.

“Lightweight vehicles have additional benefits in terms of performance, agility and cornering. The lighter the car, the less power it needs to propel it along the road for the same performance as a heavier car.“
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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