Lotus Plans an EV

British carmaker, Lotus, plans to build a high-performance electric vehicle that will compete with likes of the Tesla Roadster and Fisker Karma, according to a report in London’s Financial Times (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6fee8414-d86f-11dd-bcc0-000077b07658.html). The car will utilize a gasoline engine to act as a range extender for its battery, allowing 300 to 400-miles of electric operation. This system would be similar to the one found in the Chevrolet Volt.

A preliminary version of the vehicle is expected to be shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March. “Don’t be surprised to see an electric Lotus shortly,” said Michael Kimberley, Lotus chief executive, to the Finance Times. “We are working on the technologies that will go behind it.”

To boot, Lotus is already very familiar with the underpinnings of an EV platform; the boutique manufacturer currently designs and builds the chassis structure for Tesla’s roadster, the very same vehicle Lotus plans to take on. Furthermore, the automaker recently assisted Chrysler in conceiving a Dodge EV based on the Lotus Europa.

Lotus is investing close to 90 million dollars in the research and development of cleaner, more efficient cars. Aside from electric vehicles, Lotus also plans to explore the areas of hybrid technology and biofuels. The goal is to expand the brand beyond its signature two-seater sports car image.

For those surprised about Lotus’ green initiatives, don’t be. Last year, Lotus engineered a specialized sound device for hybrid cars that would let sight-impaired individuals hear the otherwise quiet vehicles approaching (http://www.hybridcars.com/safetu/lotus-fake-noise-hybrids-08072.html).