Lotus Develops New Engine for Hybrids

Given that new series hybrids are being developed with special tech, it makes sense that one important part of the powertrain—the engine—be designed and engineered for the purpose, doesn’t it?

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Given that new series hybrids are being developed with special tech, it makes sense that one important part of the powertrain—the engine—be designed and engineered for the purpose, doesn’t it?

Simon Wood, Technical Director of Lotus Engineering, pointed out, however, “Most series hybrid vehicles that are currently being developed will use adaptations of existing, conventional engines which are therefore compromised in the efficiency that they can achieve, designed as they are for a wide range of operating conditions. Designing the Lotus Range Extender”—a low-mass (56-kg) engine that uses an optimized two-valve port-fuel injection combustion system—“purely for use in series hybrids has allowed us instead to develop an optimized engine that has high thermal efficiency, low fuel consumption, multi-fuel capability [unleaded, methanol, or ethanol], and a 35-kW peak output from a 1.2-liter, low-cost architecture over the precise operating range required by a series hybrid drive train.”

The all-aluminum engine features monoblock construction—as in the head and block are one --with an integrated exhaust manifold. This helps reduce manufacturing costs, as well, as well as reduce the number of parts required.

The Lotus Range Extender is the result of work conducted for the “Limo-Green” project that is backed by the U.K.’s Technology Strategy Board and is a collaboration between Lotus Engineering, Jaguar Cars, MIRA, and Capro Vehicle Technologies, with the goal of creating a limousine that produces low CO2 emissions.