On the Lotus Small Car Platform

There is probably no topic of more interest to many people in the auto industry when a car comes out is “what platform is it on?” And there is probably no greater effort—this side of achieving greater fuel efficiency and/or reducing emissions—by automotive executives and engineers than reducing the number of platforms.

There is probably no topic of more interest to many people in the auto industry when a car comes out is “what platform is it on?”

And there is probably no greater effort—this side of achieving greater fuel efficiency and/or reducing emissions—by automotive executives and engineers than reducing the number of platforms.

Platforms—those fundamental structures upon which vehicles are built—are exceedingly important.

Which brings us to Lotus.

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Elise S1 Show Car (1995)

And its “Small Car Platform.”

Last week the company announced that it has produced 40,000 units on its Small Car Platform.

Which is notable because that platform was introduced, with the Lotus Elise.

In 1995.

Yes, 20 years for 40,000 vehicles.

And some people say that it is taking Tesla a long time to ramp up production.

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340R (2000)

The Small Car Platform has been used for several small cars in addition to the Elise. Like the Exige, Europa, 2-Eleven, 340R, and various race vehicles.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO, Group Lotus said, “The small car platform was a landmark development in 1995 and developed at the right time in the company’s history. Yet, in an environment of continuous improvement, while a correlation exists between today’s platform and the first of the lightweight, bonded and extruded aluminum structures, it has altered radically. It remains a benchmark in light weight and efficiency and is as advanced and market-leading today as it was 20 years ago.”

While there is certainly some corporate bombast in that, clearly Lotus is known for its superb engineering, so the Small Car Platform is a testament to that.

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Exige S S2 (2006)

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2-Eleven (2007)

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Europa SE (2008)