Lotus Green-lights the Ethos Plug-in Hybrid for 2013

Over the last few years, Lotus’ engineers have been showing off a series of clever new “green” technologies aimed at keeping the brand relevant in the years to come. Next year, Lotus will be putting those technologies to work under the skin of the brand’s Ethos city car. Its demise, it seems, having been greatly exaggerated.

That Lotus was continuing development of the Ethos isn’t news, of course (the fact was announced by Lotus at last year’s Paris show), now comes word that Lotus’ tiny Cygnet-fighter will be ready within the year.

The car itself will be manufactured by Lotus’ parent company, Proton, on Proton’s Emas platform. According to Lotus spokesman Alastair Florance, the Ethos will not be just a rebadged Proton. “We’ll work extensively on the engineering – the Lotus version will be very much a Lotus … I believe there will be a Proton version.”

Once production begins in earnest, Lotus’ Ethos will join the automotive sales fray as a 2013 model, where it will be marketed against other premium subcompacts like the third-gen Smart ForTwo, Chrysler Lancia Epsilon, Mini Rocketman, and Scion iQ.

The Ethos will slot into the above company rather nicely, being somewhat smaller the current Mini, but a bit larger than the Smart and Scion. When it arrives, the Ethos will be powered by the same Omnivore range-extender shown at Paris in 2010 (below). The electric motor in the Ethos is expected to produce approx. 70 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque, good enough (when combined with a full tank of fuel for the generator) to carry four adults over 300 miles.

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Pricing and US availability on Lotus’ Ethos has yet to be announced, but it’s safe to assume that Lotus’ American lobbyists would love to have a high-mpg car like the Ethos on-hand to keep the CAFE-dogs at bay.

Source: TechVehi.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.