Of all the European supercar manufacturers, one name that constantly stands out from the pack is Lotus. Founded in 1952 in Norfolk, England, Lotus remains as one of a few remaining English performance car brands, and large part of its survival over the decades is its dedication to technology and engineering.
Lotus cars, whether it is the classic Lotus Elan or the latest Elise, incorporate the latest in automotive technology in their time. The following are just some of the key technologies that are put to use in all Lotus vehicles right down to their individual Lotus parts.
At the heart of all Lotus vehicles is the desire to use lightweight materials without compromising integrity. In fact, one of the famous quotes of Colin Chapman, Lotus\' founder, is to .just add lightness.. And add lightness he did, as Chapman, a former aluminum salesman, incorporated aluminum Lotus parts and other lightweight materials in Lotus vehicles.
Today, Lotus continues to follow a policy of lightweight structural composition and integration. Current Lotus sports cars have a chassis made of bonded aluminum sheets, supplemented with lightweight carbon fiber on sections of the under tray. Lotus models also tend to have a compact design . a limit of just two seats and minimal stowage space . and a short wheelbase to further cut down in weight. And if that\'s not all, all Lotus car parts are fabricated using its own in-house CAD systems, ensuring the specifications are strictly complied for maximum efficiency.
Quick, responsive handling
One of the advantages of having a light weight is that it allows for better, more responsive handling, especially when making turns. And Lotus takes advantage of this by utilizing Lotus performance parts that leverage Lotus vehicles\' quick response times.
For its suspension systems, Lotus cars come equipped with the tried-and-tested independent double-wishbone suspension, but with specially tuned springs, shocks, and anti-roll bars. Recent Lotus models are also fitted with cast-alloy wheels along with vented disc brakes with ABS that can stop the vehicle running at 60 mph to a dead halt in 105 ft. Also, unlike other European supercars, the undercarriage in Lotus sports cars are designed to reduce lift, helping to keep the rear wheels on the ground when travelling at high speeds.
While Lotus is not particularly known for making very powerful engines, the ones in its cars are no pushover either. Currently, Lotus vehicles are powered with an in-house V8, capable of reaching up to 580 hp and over 9,200 rpm. And keeping with its compact, lightweight mantra, the V8 engine weighs in at just 170 kg (375 lb) and just 612 mm (24.1 in) long, with the unit dry sump lubricated to further save depth.
Aside from gasoline engines, Lotus has also developed a hybrid engine called the Range Extender engine. An all-aluminum, monoblock construction, the Range Extender engine is specifically designed to directly drive an alternator to generate electricity for the electronic components and Lotus accessories. The engine is also quite small, weighing at just 56 kg (123 lb) as it has just three cylinders and no detachable ceiling head.