The evolution of electric cars and hybrids from a niche market for treehuggers to high-end luxury vehicles for the 1%. Ten years ago if you had told me Porsche and Ferrarii would be building super-fast and super-expensive supercars utilizing hybrid technology, I would have laughed. But they are, and so is the plucky British sportscar maker Lotus, which has unveiled a rolling hotbed of high-technology hybrid gizmos called the 414E…and now it drives under its own power.
The Luxury Of Electric Torque
Lotus has an odd relationship with hybrid and electric vehicles. The company is known for lightweight cars with spirited driving dynamics, which seems to fly in the face of electric cars and their big, heavy batteries. But Tesla made it work for its Roadster model, and Lotus is also getting into the game with a hybridized version of the Evora S.
Utilizing two electric motors, one powering each of the rear wheels, the Evora 414E Concept delivers 408 horsepower and 738 ft-lbs of torque, going from 0-60 mph in under 4 seconds. A 17 kWh lihtium-ion battery provides approximately 30 miles of all-electric driving, after which a 3-cylinder range-extender kicks in. A 7-speed transmission is controled by steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and Lotus has even included regenerative braking.
But Will They Build It?
Total mileage is estimated at 300 miles with a full battery and gas tank, and Lotus has announced that their concept has gone from push-only to driving on its own power. That’s a big step for an ambitious concept car like the 414E, and could signal an intent to actually build and sell the sporty hybrid. For now though, it remains just another concept.
Such a vehicle would be well beyond what you or I could afford, but Lotus rightly thinks that there is a market for high-end hybrids. Indeed, Lotus may end up selling dedicated range-extending engines to the likes of Fisker and other luxury EV makers. These dedicated range-extending engines are lighter and easier to maintain, so it isn’t a stretch to imagine that one day, you or I might drive a plug-in hybrid with a Lotus-designed engine. I could totally live with that.